Your morning roundup for May 22, the day some people in North Carolina started taking Pirates of the Caribbean too literally, but not in a cool swashbuckling way or anything.
What we watched:
Not gonna lie: I got sidetracked by the sights of Cliff Lee shutting his old team down and Hulk Hogan luckily not talk smack about The Macho Man and/or Elizabeth in this pre-death interview to catch a second of the Thunder/Mavericks or Canucks/Sharks.
Both were done before Bernard Hopkins entered the ring to fight Jean Pascal on Jean Pascal's home turf in front of Jean Pascal's own fans, though. In terms of an event where a 46-year-old becomes the oldest boxer to win a notable belt in human history, there were more active rounds than expected, particularly with B Hop never being known for flashy ringsmanship.
Recurring thought during the early rounds: Pascal is just too powerful and quick not to catch Hopkins with a shot that'll drop Hopkins into the day's De La Hoya/Roy Jones Jr. bargain bin. Recurring thought from right about the time the old man started doing pushups in the ring between rounds (I repeat: PUSHUPS IN THE RING BETWEEN ROUNDS): Hopkins has gophered himself so deep in this kid's psyche that I never should've questioned him in the early rounds. Despite chatter of another draw in the immediate Twitanalysis of the fight, Hopkins won a unanimous decision and rolled out of the ring a champion. Again. Just like he said he would.
Here's my worry: Got much respect for Bernard, and not just because he lives down the street and reps his hometown loudly and proudly. But when he got to talking about fighting for a few more years, well, that's Phase Two of getting turned into a mental shell of what he once was. Sometimes, it doesn't really pay to persevere, even when it literally pays to persevere.
What we're watching:
That thing where a bunch of people hit yellow balls with racquets on Parisian red clay started this morning, not that fans of American players would probably notice.
No, they're not playing one another today. And no, there's not some fancy new manifestation of the game where three people can play simultaneously, but the whole Novak Djokovic/Rafael Nadal/Roger Federer subplot is a fascinating lesson in real-time sporting evolution. Predictions: Nadal takes the trophy; on the women's side, whoever Lil Wayne's picking to win will win.
If you're looking for Tennis Channel clips of the action, check out SnappyTV.com.
(Burke video H/T Cosby Sweaters)
It's never a surprise when a Bruins lead melts: With 13:05 remaining in the second period, the Boston Bruins still held a three-goal lead on the Lightning in Tampa. Well, the home team would score a collective hat trick within four minutes and tack on two more in the third period. Winner: Tampa 5-3 on the game to draw even in the series. Game Five is Monday night. [Tampa Tribune]
Run Horsey Run After winning the Preakness, Shackleford is cold chillin' in a Churchill Downs barn awaiting his trainer's decision about whether horsey'll run in the Belmont on June 11 [Louisville Courier-Journal]. As for the another-year, another-no-Triple Crown angle:
Saturday didn't bring the end of the world. Just the end of Animal Kingdom's Triple Crown dream.
The Kentucky Derby winner came up a half-length short in his bid to become racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
"He ran huge," said trainer Graham Motion, who turns 47 Sunday. "It's tough to come that close, but he ran a huge race. I kind of thought for an instant that he might get there, but I wasn't sure." [New York Daily News]
It Ain't Over Till It Starts: Sure, the final score had Dallas winning by six, but it seems as if they beat Oklahoma City before the game even started. And that's probably what led Skip Bayless to type something about detonations in a town that was victimized by one of the biggest domestic non-wartime detonations. [The Oklahoman]
Great Moments In Hyperbole: In appealing to a U.S. Court of Appeals to lift the lockout that has gaggles of players trying to get into game shape with makeshift, camera-friendly workout sessions, the NFLPA has called the NFL "a cartel." [ESPN]
Marlon Byrd hit in face with pitch in Boston: Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd was hospitalized overnight after taking a pitch to the face right under his left eye at Fenway Park last night. Little matter: The Cubbies scored eight runs in the eighth to beat the Red Sox 9-3. Rubber match is at 8 p.m. before a national-cable audience.
After being hit, Byrd fell to the ground, writhing in pain and holding his hand over his left eye. Cubs trainers wrapped his head in a towel and escorted him off the field and into the training room. The Cubs could not say whether there was a fracture or any vision problems until Byrd undergoes more testing. [Chicago Tribune]
Gary Carter fights brain tumors: Doctors found several small tumors on Expos/Mets Hall-of-Fame Catcher Gary Carter's brain. In a statement, Carter wrote, "I am scheduled to be examined further Thursday at Duke Medical Center, and we will learn more at that time about my diagnosis." Here's hoping surgery and treatment go well enough to stave off any potential recurrence. [New York Daily News]
Today's Soccer Viewing Recommendations: With Birmingham City on the cusp of relegation going into today's match with Tottenham Hotspur (11 a.m. eastern), midfielder Craig Gardner has tried to make a deal with the type of devil who trades medals from earlier accomplishments for future success. This is an attempt to end the nosedive into which Birmingham City went after winning the Carling Cup in February. [Telegraph]
Also, here's video of someone scoring a goal in the South China/Sun Hei Hong Kong FA Cup match and proceeding to get kicked in the face by a teammate. [Sport Post]