Connect with us



MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — Somewhere in Miami, Floyd Mayweather is laughing.

A lackluster eight-round exhibition that went the distance with no official winner was an appropriate end for Sunday night’s Mayweather-Logan Paul showcase. Everything about this bout was a circus, and the redeeming hope of a viral knockout to make it all worth it proved to be for naught.

There were no knockdowns, no significant moments in which Paul was hurt, and even though Mayweather clearly outperformed his opponent, there will be criticism that he couldn’t put away a Youtuber with an 0-1 professional boxing record.

“I had fun. You’ve got to realize I’m not 21 anymore,” Mayweather said after the fight. “He was strong, tough and better than I thought he was. I was surprised by him tonight.”

As Mayweather left the ring, he smirked. He knows he got away with what he called “legalized bank robbery.” Mayweather says he already made $30 million in the buildup for the fight, just from the sponsors that were listed on his trunks, with a larger final purse expected.

The reason why Mayweather was able to cash in seems clear: boxing has failed in many ways to replace his presence. The sport still clamors for Mayweather and everything he brings.

Now 44 years old and retired from real fights since 2017 (and perhaps longer than that, depending on your view of Mayweather’s last pro fight against Conor McGregor), Mayweather clearly isn’t anywhere near the fighter he was at his peak. He certainly dominated enough of the fight to earn a “win,” if the bout was officially judged, but his performance overall was underwhelming. Sure, Paul likely outweighed Mayweather by 40-50 pounds on fight night — a viable factor — but it’s not an end-all excuse for why he survived eight rounds.

“It’s the best moment of my life,” Paul said at the post-fight news conference. “I don’t know what to make of it. I can’t comprehend it.”

Despite the lackluster nature of his performance, Mayweather remains boxing’s biggest showman. He remains the guy that makes people tune into a fight after not watching one for years.

Does that say more about him, boxing fans or the sport of boxing as a whole?

Many mocked the idea of this bout — a matchup so laughable on paper that you can barely call it a fight. Heck, even Paul said he laughed when he first heard the idea.

But a lot of people were interested — that was clear by the number of times boxing showed up in the top 10 Google Trends on Sunday night and the buzz on social media throughout the card. A fight everybody knew was somewhere between a joke and a spectacle still might end up having the most pay-per-view buys of the year.

Why? Mayweather explained it just days before the fight.

“I am boxing,” Mayweather said. “You look at all the young fighters — they want to fight like Floyd Mayweather. They want to get all the cars and jewelry, all the flash, that’s Floyd Mayweather. We’re not going to call it boxing anymore, we’re going to call it Floyd Mayweather.”

It’s nothing new for Mayweather to exude an arrogance and cockiness that makes him polarizing. People love that “Money” talks his talk and backs it up. No matter how you feel about him, positive or negative, you want to tune in to see him.

“I’m retired from boxing. But I’m not retired from entertainment,” Mayweather said. “Nobody has to watch. Nobody has to pay. Do whatever makes you feel good, and I’m going to do what makes me feel good.”

And while Mayweather didn’t commit to another exhibition bout and expressed his doubts of returning to the ring at all during his post-fight news conferences, this is a fighter that has returned multiple times from retirement in the past. As long as Mayweather is willing to put on a show, even if it’s not really a good one, people will watch.

So what’s next? Paul teased a rematch after the fight during his in-ring interview: “It was one of the greatest moments of my life. Floyd Mayweather/Logan Paul II? I don’t know. Maybe I can end it next time.”

Paul left with a moral victory because he went the distance with the greatest fighter of this generation. A rematch would probably do good numbers, too.

But the even more lucrative answer is Jake Paul, Logan’s younger brother and a more accomplished boxer with a 3-0 professional record. The revenge theme is already planted with the “gotcha hat” stunt Jake pulled when he snatched Mayweather’s cap at a promotional fight event in early May.

Jake told ESPN earlier this week that’s a fight he definitely wants.

But that is dependent on whether or not Mayweather decides he wants to do this again. His age showed in this fight. Though he told ESPN this week that he could beat Logan or Jake Paul with his “Z game,” it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mayweather leave the sideshow behind for the time being to turn his focus back towards his primary post-career pursuit — promoting boxing.

Ironically, in a sport that’s struggled to find Mayweather’s true successor, Mayweather hopes to find that fighter himself.

“The ultimate goal is to find the next Floyd Mayweather,” Mayweather said. “I’m not the type of fighter that doesn’t want to see my records get broken. I want to see these young fighters do it. I hope I’m around to see the next Mayweather.”

There are worthy candidates in boxing, but no firm takers yet. And until it finds the next Mayweather, boxing still clamors for any type of show the current Mayweather wants to put on, even ones like Sunday night. And if the pay day is right, history shows that Mayweather will show up and collect the check.

Continue Reading


Rutschman carries O’s in historic 5-for-5 opener




Rutschman carries O's in historic 5-for-5 opener

BOSTON — Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman felt the Opening Day jitters. Last year was supposed to be his first season opener, but a right triceps strain delayed his debut until May. And so when he woke up on Thursday morning in Boston, hours away from first pitch, he felt the jitters up and down his body.

“I was hoping it would wait until I at least got to the field,” he said.

When the season officially kicked off, those jitters were nowhere to be found. Rutschman made a statement on Opening Day, going 5-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, becoming the first player since 1937 to go 5-for-5 or better with a home run on Opening Day and the first catcher with five hits on Opening Day since at least 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The offensive outburst from Rutschman carried the Orioles’ offense for the day, as Baltimore left Fenway on Thursday with a 10-9 victory, thanks in large part to the catcher’s four RBIs and one run scored.

“The hits are awesome,” Rutschman said. “But the winning for me is more important.”

Orioles fans had been waiting for this. The years of losing, all for the promise that one day the team would turn things around with a plethora of young, homegrown talent. At the center of that is Rutschman, who shined once he made his major league debut in 2022. The switch-hitter slashed .254/.362/.445 with 13 homers, 35 doubles and 42 RBIs with 5.2 fWAR, the second-highest total for a catcher in the majors behind the Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto.

“There’s been a lot of great players who’ve worn this uniform,” said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s gonna be the doing other things that are the first as well.”

For the Orioles, Rutschman represents hope for the future. After finishing in last place in four of the five seasons from 2017 through 2021, the Orioles surprisingly finished in fourth place in 2022 in large part due to the catcher’s contributions to the team. After Rutschman arrived in the big leagues in 2022, the team played at an 89-win pace, going 16-24 before his major league debut.

That impact shined on Thursday. On his first swing of the season, Rutschman launched a sinker from Red Sox starter Corey Kluber into the right-field seats at a projected 402 feet, making him the youngest Oriole to homer in the first at-bat of Opening Day since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984. He singled in the third but was thrown out at second on an awkward slide that led to him kicking Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo in the head. After drawing a walk in the fourth, he gave the Orioles an 8-2 lead with a two-run single in the fifth. An RBI single followed in his next at-bat in the seventh, but Rutschman was thrown out at second again.

Rutschman reached on an infield single in the ninth in his final at-bat.

“Once I start playing the game, those kinds of things go away and I’m able to calm down and just play,” Rutschman said of his jitters. “I’m able to calm down and just play. But until those jets fly over and we get that first pitch, there’s definitely excitement.”

The only other catchers to reach base five or more times were Yogi Berra in 1956, Todd Hundley in 1995 and Jason Varitek in 2002. Rutschman — at 25 years, 52 days old — also became the youngest Orioles player since Adam Jones (24 year, 248 days) in 2010 to homer on Opening Day.

And while it’s just one game, the historic day for Rutschman represented why Baltimore can see the light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel. Reinforcements are coming, too, with infielder Gunnar Henderson believed to be a Rookie of the Year candidate and a pair of top prospects in pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and shortstop Jackson Holliday projected to be in the big leagues at some point in the next two seasons.

But for now, Rutschman is not thinking too far ahead, just trying to enjoy his first Opening Day in the big leagues. Hyde said he is not taking his star catcher for granted.

“He’s a super special player,” Hyde said. “A really good hitter, and he hasn’t played a full year yet. Good things coming.”

Continue Reading


Judge launches 2023’s first homer in opening AB




Judge launches 2023's first homer in opening AB

NEW YORK — Yankees fans did not have to wait long for reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge‘s first home run of the 2023 season.

In the first inning on Opening Day, Judge saw a 93 mph sinker from San Francisco Giants ace Logan Webb and deposited it 422 feet over the Yankee Stadium center-field wall for his first home run of the year, his first one as Yankees captain and the first one leaguewide in 2023.

He later added a single as the Yankees rolled to a 5-0 victory.

Before taking the field Thursday, Judge had joked about Major League Baseball scheduling a Giants-Yankees Opening Day matchup for the first time ever, putting him up against the team that he rooted for growing up in Northern California and also pursued him in free agency as much as the Yankees did.

“I don’t know who at MLB did that to me,” Judge said with a smile, “but it’s great. Logan Webb’s a great pitcher, he’s had a couple great years, and looking forward to many more out of him. But it’s going to be a fun afternoon, that’s for sure, getting a chance to play the team I watched a lot as a kid.”

Judge had considered joining the Giants in the offseason before signing a nine-year, $360 million deal to remain with the Yankees.

“It was kind of a dream come true getting a chance to speak with them and get an opportunity to go there,” Judge said of the Giants. “But in the end, it just worked out for me to come back to the Yankees, and I’m happy with my decision.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game that the “low point” of his winter was when he thought that Judge would sign with San Francisco.

“One of my lowest, darkest places this winter was when I thought maybe it was in jeopardy that he was coming back,” Boone said. “For whatever period of time, that was one of the darkest places I went, was picturing him on that third-base line in a Giants uniform on Opening Day. That’s something that was not a good thought or picture.”

In 2022, Judge was voted AL MVP after threatening for the Triple Crown, finishing first in home runs (62) and RBIs (131) and second in batting average (.311), recording an inordinate 1.111 OPS and breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL home run mark.

Before the game, Judge made sure to shift the focus on any expectations of another 60-homer season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last player with even back-to-back 45-homer seasons was Ryan Howard, who surpassed that total in four straight years from 2006 to 2009.

“I know very few followed up with 60. A couple I know hit 50 after that. But we’ll see what happens,” Judge said. “Maybe we can make a new list. We’ll see.”

Pitcher Gerrit Cole also had a banner 2023 debut on his fourth Opening Day start in pinstripes, striking out 11 Giants through six innings to set a franchise record previously held by Tim Leary (9 strikeouts, 1991). Webb also set a Giants Opening Day record when he recorded his 12th strikeout in the sixth inning.

Continue Reading


Rockies closer Bard starting on IL due to anxiety




Rockies closer Bard starting on IL due to anxiety

Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard will open the season on the injured list because of anxiety.

“From my experience, knowing myself, I think just taking a step back, taking time to work through things, get it right, is the best approach,” Bard told reporters Thursday, according to

The 37-year-old Bard was a member of Team USA at the just-completed World Baseball Classic, but control issues in a game against Venezuela included an inside pitch to Jose Altuve that broke the hand of the Houston Astros second baseman.

Bard was a standout reliever for the Boston Red Sox early in his career, posting a 1.93 ERA in 73 outings during his second major league season in 2010. But control issues surfaced, and after two outings in 2013, he stepped away from the game.

“It’s a hard thing to admit. But I’ve been through this before,” Bard told reporters Thursday, adding that he’s grateful to the Rockies for being understanding and accepting of his situation.

The Rockies gave Bard a look in spring training in 2020, and he made the roster, returning to his standout ways last season when he had a 1.79 ERA in 57 outings and finished 16th in National League MVP voting.

But in the fifth inning for Team USA against Venezuela, Bard gave up a walk and a single, threw a wild pitch, hit Altuve and issued a walk to force in a run. He ended up charged with four runs on one hit and two walks, while not recording an out.

“I can’t speak for Daniel because I’m just observing from 3,000 miles away, but I think he might have gotten caught up in the moment,” Rockies manager Bud Black said after the outing. “He’s pitching for his country in front of a big crowd. He only had three or four outings with us this spring and Daniel’s got a lot of moving parts in his delivery. He was just out of whack.”

Jake Bird, 27, is taking Bard’s spot on the roster. Bird made his major league debut last season, going 2-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 38 relief appearances.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a minor league deal with Colorado late in the spring, also was named to the Rockies’ Opening Day roster.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Continue Reading