Pacquiao-Mayweather bout tentatively scheduled for March

Manny Pacquiao agreed to a proposal offered by promoter Bob Abrum. ESPN, via the AP, has the details. It’s not set in stone quite yet, but it’s looking good.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Reaction to the Pacquiao/Hatton fight

Manny Pacquiao disposed of Ricky Hatton in two rounds, cementing his place as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter as well as establishing himself as one of the all-time greats.

Fanhouse’s Kevin Blackistone: Pacquiao The Destroyer Rules Ring

Yahoo! Sports’ Martin Rodgers: Manny Pacquiao Cements Legacy With Win

Boxing Scene’s Jake Donovan: Pacquiao proves he’s the best

L.A. Times’ Bill Dwyre: Manny Pacquiao’s fists are loaded

Couch Potato Alert: 5/1

The NBA and NHL playoffs are heating up, as the Boston Celtics/Chicago Bulls series could go down as maybe the best first round series ever. The Detroit Red Wings will again battle the Anaheim Ducks, who have defeated them in consecutive playoff series. They defeated the Red Wings in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals, it marked the first time since 1952 that a defending Stanley Cup champion was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Fri, 8 PM: Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (ESPN)
Sat, 8 PM: Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (TNT)
Sun, 1 PM: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks* if necessary (ABC)
Sun, 3:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets (ABC)

NHL Playoffs
Fri, 7 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings (Versus)
Sat, 1PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals (NBC)
Sat, 9 PM: Chicago Blackhawks @ Vancouver Canucks (Versus)
Sun, 2 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)
Sun, 7:30 PM: Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins (Versus)

Sat, 3:40 PM: New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies (Fox)
Sun., 1:30 PM: Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: Chicago White Sox @ Texas Rangers (ESPN)

Sat, 9 PM: Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao for the world junior welterweight title from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena (HBO PPV)

Horse Racing
Sat, 4 PM: Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.(NBC)

Correcting ESPN The Mag, Part 1

Regular readers might be familiar with my occasional posts — “Correcting Bill Simmons” and “Correcting Rick Reilly” — where I try to help out my better-paid, less-informed counterparts by pointing out when/where they’re wrong. This time, I’m going to tackle ESPN The Mag as a whole. I know I’m going to hear some guy at the sports bar regurgitate this “analysis” as his own opinion and I won’t have the wherewithal to call him on it.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite blowhard — and I doubt he’d take that as an insult given his commentary stylings — Stephen A. Smith. In his “Up Front” column, he criticizes Oscar De La Hoya for not knowing when to give it up.

Help, someone! Pretty Please!

It would be really nice if someone could muster some plausible explanation as to why a fighter like Oscar De La Hoya, beyond his prime for quite a while before the Manny Pacquiao bout, still chose to step into the ring and get his brains beat out. The mismatch was so obvious that Oscar’s wife, Millie, was screaming for him to quit before he had the common sense to do it himself.

It’s really easy to knock De La Hoya after the match is over when it’s clear that he shouldn’t have fought the fight. But one quick look at the pre-fight odds (-165 Hoya / +135 Pacquiao) reveals that this fight fooled a LOT of people, not just the Golden Boy. According to the betting public, De La Hoya was the clear favorite in the fight, so why would Oscar think that he was about to step into a beatdown? The betting public clearly doesn’t know everything, but it’s a pretty good gauge of public opinion and if the public is fooled, why would De La Hoya — who has an ego of a big-time fighter — know any better?

If Smith writes this column before the fight, I’d give him props. But this is classic kick-’em-while-they’re-down writing.

Let’s move on to Mike & Mike (Golic & Greenberg) who answer “The Big Question” — if the best players in college sports don’t make any noise in the pros, what’s their legacy?

Read the rest after the jump...

Pacquiao dominates De La Hoya

I’m not much of a boxing fan, but even I knew that there was a big fight on Saturday. It turns out Manny Pacquiao overcame a weight disadvantage to pound Oscar De La Hoya into a mercy stoppage.

In the end, it was a bruised, battered and utterly befuddled De La Hoya, 35, sitting with a blank look on his face as new trainer Nacho Beristain stopped the fight after much discussion before the start of the ninth round. It was a mercy stoppage and one that could have come from referee Tony Weeks during the seventh round, a classic example of a 10-8 round without a knockdown. Pacquiao battered De La Hoya in the round, landing 45 power shots, the most ever recorded by CompuBox in the 31 De La Hoya fights it has tracked.

De La Hoya might have been a shot fighter when he walked up the steps for battle, but Pacquiao, 29, the icon of the Philippines, also deserves credit for the upset in a fight many critics proclaimed as a mismatch. They thought it would be Pacquiao who would be annihilated because he had spent his career fighting in much smaller weight divisions before this leap to welterweight. The ironic thing is that the bigger guy entering the ring was actually Pacquiao. He weighed in officially on Friday at 142 pounds to De La Hoya’s 145. But on HBO’s unofficial scale on fight night, Pacquiao was up to 148½ and De La Hoya was surprisingly only 147.

Pacquiao’s domination earned him his third victory of the year in his third weight division. A former flyweight, junior featherweight and featherweight champion, Pacquiao won the junior lightweight championship by beating Juan Manuel Marquez in their March rematch and then moved to lightweight, where he won a title with a destruction of David Diaz in June. Pacquiao then made the jump to welterweight to face De La Hoya and surely locked up fighter of the year honors by completing his Henry Armstrongesque year.

Next up for Pacquiao likely will be junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton in the spring. For De La Hoya, let’s hope there is no next fight. If this is indeed the end for him, as it should be, he deserves our respect for a great career and a hearty thanks for the memories. He will be missed but he will not be forgotten.

It’s funny how all the pre-fight talk was about De La Hoya’s weight advantage, but it was Pacquiao that actually weighed in a little heavier just before the fight. Not funny like “ha ha” funny, but funny like “hmmm” funny.

Screw it – you know what I mean.

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