The Battle for Sept. 14 for Timothy Bradley, Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez

After Floyd Mayweather’s clinical victory over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on Saturday night, the focus now turns to when Mayweather’s next fight will be. Mayweather said he intends to fight on Sept. 14. With the close turn-around time, that’s a stretch for Mayweather, who fights infrequently. Also making it unlikely he’ll fight on Sept. 14 is a hand injury. Mayweather got X-rays, but there’s no word on the extent of the injury.

Already scheduled for Sept. 14 is Cathedral City’s Timothy Bradley defending his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez, who is trying to become the first boxer from Mexico to win world titles in five different weight classes. It will be a good pay-per-view fight. But promoter Bob Arum saidin online reports that  if Mayweather really does fight on Sept. 14, he would move Bradley-Marquez.

But after Saturday’s fight, should Bradley-Marquez move off that date? Mayweather earned a lopsided victory, and there’s not many boxers in the Golden Boy stables who figure to give Mayweather a challenge. There’s only one that people want to see and that’s Mayweather-Alvarez. Unlikely Mayweather would take on the big fighter. After that, there’s not many boxers who can make a Mayweather fight more intriguing than Bradley-Marquez. Amir Khan, who is fresh off his narrow victory over Coachella’s Julio Diaz, could a good fight to market, but it seems like a waste of the Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Things should shake out in the coming days to see where Floyd goes, and if Bradley-Marquez will stay on Sept. 14 or go.

What does Jason Collins coming out mean for sports?

The male sports landscape is full of players who have come out as gay, but only after their active playing days were over. The thinking has always been that the locker room is not a place to be an openly gay person, and there has always been question about how fans would react to a gay player in the macho world of professional sports.

Strange how many female athletes have been able to come out as gay while they were still playing, but not so much for male athletes.

But today, we have such a player. His name is Jason Collins, which is not a name most sports fans would know. A former basketball player at Stanford University, Collins has had a 12-year career in the NBA. And in a Sports Illustrated article, he says he never wanted to be the first openly gay and active player in the four major sports in this country, but since he is, he’s happy to talk.

As the story develops, it will be interesting to see how many of Collins’ former teammates will talk about how they knew or didn’t know he was gay, or how that knowledge has helped or hurt Collins in his career. And it will be interesting to see how this may help or hurt Collins’ career moving forward. As a free agent, Collins is free to sign with any team. Will teams take a chance on an openly gay athlete, or will they have those quiet conversations in locked boardrooms about team chemistry and not wanting to offend a segment of the fan base? And Collins will surely want to be seen as a basketball player at his next job, not as a public relations stunt.

It’s interesting that Collins’ announcement came in the same month at the movie “42″ documenting the struggles of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in major league baseball was released. It’s a huge stretch to say that Collins could be to gay athletes what Robinson was to African-Americans. African-Americans were not allowed to be in the major leagues in the 1940s. Gay players have been allowed to play sports — just not while being open about their sexuality.

But Collins might be a living symbol of the struggle of gays for acceptance throughout society, even as a non-marquee player in his sports. So chances are you had not heard of Jason Collins before today. Chances are you will hear a lot about him in the coming months and years.

 

MLB scouts expected at La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy

For those interested in local baseball, La Quinta High School is the place to be this evening. Close to 20 MLB scouts will be in attendance in tonight’s La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy baseball game, secondary principal Steve Blankenship has told The Desert Sun.

Most of them will be there to watch Desert Christian Academy’s senior pitcher Morgan Earman, a 6-foot-4 prospect that has allowed just a single multi-base hit and two earned runs in 40 innings this season.

Making the game even more intriguing is the fact that La Quinta (14-5) will be the Conquerors’ (18-2) toughest competition to date, and feature their own standout on the mound — 6-foot-4 junior Trevor Abshire, whom has has allowed just four earned runs in 52 and 1/3 innings.

Both teams appear destined to make deep runs in the CIF-SS next month, and this could prove to be the biggest game in the valley this year. With a multitude of sluggers that have torched opposing pitchers already this season, both aces will have their work cut out for them.

How will they perform under the pressure? Find out at 6:30 p.m. in La Quinta.

Timothy Bradley picked well in facing Juan Manuel Marquez

Timothy Bradley found himself in an ideal spot, getting to choose multi-million dollar fights against two superstars — Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.

The best choice was Marquez on several levels. First, the fight was going to be in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day weekend against the country’s biggest star. Now that can change if Floyd Mayweather says he’s going to fight on that day. But Mayweather has a fight on May 4 and it’s rare he would fight on a short turnaround. While Mayweather might say he’ll fight on Sept. 14, So Bradley could have a huge audience to himself.

As for Bradley’s legacy, it would mean much more to him to fight Marquez and beat him. Marquez arguably beat Pacquiao all four times. And the most convincing victory of their four fights was the knockout victory in December that had Pacquiao on the canvas out cold for over two minutes.

Plus, Pacquiao was asking for too much for not enough compensation. In the original contract Bradley was to get close to $10 million for a rematch according to several reports. So for the Pacquiao camp to offer $6 million could actually be seen as a markdown. And then they wanted Bradley to fight in China, which is a huge ask. For that, they should have paid a premium. Or they should have made arrangements to compensate Bradley with a marketing plan in Asia that could open up millions of dollars.

And really, Bradley is doing Pacquiao a favor. Pacquiao is coming off two straight losses. Why shoule he get a title shot against Bradley?

Bradley-Marquez promises to be a fantastic, intriguing fight. And for Bradley, it can lift him up into another level.

Time Warner Cable SportsNet plans extensive Lakers coverage

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will have extensive coverage of the Los Angeles Lakers in the postseason, starting Sunday with pre and post-game coverage of Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs.

In addition, Time Warner Cable SportsNet will televise Games 2 through 7 of the playoff series against the Spurs. Sunday’s Game 1 can be seen on ABC at 12:30 p.m.

Here’s the live Game schedule on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, followed by the official release with all of the Lakers’ programming details:

Game                    Date                                      Time                     Pre-game  at

Game 2                Wed., April 24                   6:30 p.m.             5:00 p.m.

Game 3                Fri., April 26                      7:30 p.m.             6:00 p.m.

Game 4                Sun. April 28                      4:00 p.m.             3:00 p.m.

Game 5*              Tues., April 30                  TBD                       TBD

Game 6*              Thurs., May 2                    TBD                       TBD

Game 7*              Sat., May 4                          TBD                       TBD

 

 

TIME WARNER CABLE SPORTSNET TO PROVIDE EXTENSIVE LAKERS PLAYOFF COVERAGE led by the on-air talent lakers fans have watched all season long, INCLUDING LIVE GAMES, pre- and post-game analysis and new original shows

Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald will call all Lakers playoff games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet

 

“#LakeShow” and “Access SportsNet: Lakers” pre- and post-game shows will air for all Lakers playoff games; a new episode of “Connected With…Mike D’Antoni” premieres tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. PT

 

EL SEGUNDO, CA (April 18, 2013) – Time Warner Cable SportsNet will provide extensive Lakers playoff coverage throughout the team’s playoff run, led by the familiar on-air talent that Lakers fans have watched all season long. The broadcast team of color commentator Stu Lantz and play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald will call all Lakers playoff games airing on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and sideline reporter Mike Trudell, reporter John Ireland and analysts James Worthy, Robert Horry, Kurt Rambis, Chris McGee, Dave Miller and Andy Adler will continue to provide expert analysis on the network.

 

Live studio shows “#LakeShow” and “Access SportsNet: Lakers” will air for every Lakers playoff game, with expanded coverage, commentary and analysis surrounding each contest. On non-game nights, “Access SportsNet” will provide insights and updates about the Lakers and the rest of the NBA. Live pre-game coverage of Game 1 on Sunday, April 21 will begin at 11:30 a.m. with Worthy, McGee, Miller and Adler in studio.

 

A new episode of “Connected With…Mike D’Antoni” will premiere tomorrow, Friday, April 19 at 9:00 p.m. PT. Chris McGee sat down with the Lakers Head Coach in the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studio to discuss joining the Lakers, making the playoffs, working with players like Kobe Bryant and more.

 

The popular behind-the-scenes series “Backstage: Lakers” will continue throughout the Lakers’ playoff run, with episode 30 premiering on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:00 p.m. PT following Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s coverage of Game 2. The new episode will go inside last night’s Lakers win over the Rockets, giving fans an exclusive look into the locker room before and after the game, and will follow the team as it prepares for Game 1 on Sunday.

 

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will also debut the new series “Through the Lens” on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:30 p.m. The new half-hour show will give Lakers fans a look at the team’s storied history through the eyes and camera lens of long-time Lakers team photographer Andy Bernstein, who has been with the team since 1982 and is responsible for photographing some of the Lakers’ and NBA’s most iconic moments.  Additional episodes of “Through the Lens” will premiere this summer. In the first episode, Bernstein tells the stories behind his 10 favorite Lakers still photos.

 

Korean Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) will continue for all Lakers playoff games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, with commentary by Paul Lee, Young-don Lee, Seung Chan Lim, Sang Yeol Moon and Ji-Seoung You.

 

A full schedule of Lakers First Round Playoff games airing on Time Warner Cable SportsNet:

 

Game                    Date                                      Time                     Live pre-game coverage starting at

Game 2                Wed., April 24                   6:30 p.m.             5:00 p.m.

Game 3                Fri., April 26                      7:30 p.m.             6:00 p.m.

Game 4                Sun. April 28                      4:00 p.m.             3:00 p.m.

Game 5*              Tues., April 30                  TBD                       TBD

Game 6*              Thurs., May 2                    TBD                       TBD

Game 7*              Sat., May 4                          TBD                       TBD

 

All times listed are PT.

* – If necessary

All dates and times subject to change.

Desert natives wrap up spring football

With spring football winding down on college campuses around the country, we checked in with several college football writers with knowledge of FBS players from the desert to bring you an update on them heading into the summer. Preseason camps will open in August, with roughly three weeks for teams to sort out their starting lineups heading into the season. We’ll do another update then.

Anthony Neyer, QB, Idaho, Jr. (Xavier Prep)
With Idaho starting quarterback Dominique Blackman being dismissed mid-season last year, new head coach Paul Petrino targeted Neyer as a possible replacement. Neyer, a 6-foot-2 215 pound pocket passer, played two seasons at Pierce College in Los Angeles and redshirted a year after walking on at USC before becoming the first quarterback to sign with Petrino during the winter. He’s expected to competed for the starting job this fall.

D.J. Alexander, LB, Oregon State, Jr. (Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-2 228-pounder, who finished last season fifth on the team in tackles, and is again penciled in as a starter this season and is perhaps a preseason All-Pac-12 candidate. The Beavers will wrap up their spring schedule on April 26.

Nu’uvali Fa’apito, LB, Colorado State, So. (La Quinta)
The 6-foot-1 225 pound linebacker, who played in a reserve role as a redshirt freshman a year ago, played with the second team defense behind an experienced group of linebackers throughout the spring. With three of them returning starters from last season, it’s likely Fa’apito will again be on the second unit despite recording five tackles and recovering a pair of fumbles in the second of two spring scrimmages on April 14.

Jordan White, WR, Colorado State, So. (Palm Springs)
After redshirting as a freshman last season, the 6-foot-4 205 pound receiver didn’t play much this spring. He ran with the third and fourth team offenses and didn’t catch a pass in either of the two scrimmages. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up in preseason camp, depending on his summer workouts.

Dontrell Onuoha, DE, San Diego State, Jr. (La Quinta)
Primarily a backup last season, the 6-foot-2 265 pound pass rusher appears to be in a similar role again this year. The entire starting defensive line returns, and Onuoha played with the second team defense throughout the spring.

Greg Latta, DE, Purdue, Sr. (College of the Desert via Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-6 265 pound defensive end got reps with the first team before a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of the spring. He’s in a soft walking boot with crutches, but he’s expected to be back to full strength in 4-6 weeks and should be in the mix for a starting position this fall.

Trevor Bateman, DB, Brigham Young, So. (Palm Desert)
The 5-foot-9 180 pound speedster played on the BYU scout team in 2012 after returning from an LDS Church mission to Texas. He had an interception in the spring game and is listed as a third-string cornerback on the post-spring depth chart and is a special teams hopeful.

Erick Jepsen, OG, Southern California, So. (La Quinta)
Jepsen, a 6-foot-2 285 pound center, was not on the two-deep spring depth chart but could play a key role with his versatility with potential injuries along the offensive line this season. He’s likely penciled in as the third-string center heading into the summer.

Tryn Mesarch, DE, Utah State, RFr. (Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-5 256 pound defensive end redshirted as a freshman last season, and is expected to compete for playing time with three key returnees at the end position. Mesarch wasn’t listed on the Aggies’ two-deep spring depth chart and is expected to run primarily with the second and third team when preseason camp begins.

Taylor Pope, WR, Boise State, So. (La Quinta)
Pope didn’t play as a freshman and wasn’t listed on the post-spring depth chart Boise State released leading into the summer. He’s unfortunately fighting for playing time with a number of experienced receivers.

Brandon Vandenburg, TE, Vanderbilt, Jr. (College of the Desert via Xavier Prep)
The 6-foot-6 260 pound tight end leaves for Vanderbilt toward the end May, where he will enroll in two summer semesters and workout in preparation for the upcoming season. He is expected to be penciled in as the starter once preseason camp begins in early August.

Palm Springs linebackers Michael Greer and Rodney Butler will both be entering their freshman seasons this fall and therefore were not officially a part of spring ball where they will play in college. Greer will play at Oregon State and Butler at New Mexico State.

Clippers open playoffs Saturday; Lakers play Sunday

Here are the NBA playoff schedules for the first-round matchups (all times Pacific):

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Oklahoma City vs. (8) Houston

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Houston at Oklahoma City, 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 – Wed April 24, Houston at Oklahoma City, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Sat April 27, Oklahoma City at Houston, 6:30 p.m., ESPN/R

Game 4 – Mon April 29, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD

(2) SAN ANTONIO vs. (7) L.A. LAKERS

Game 1 – Sun April 21, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 12:30 p.m., ABC/R

Game 2 – Wed April 24, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 – Sun April 28, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD, TNT

(3) DENVER VS. (6) GOLDEN STATE 

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Golden State at Denver, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Golden State at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, Denver at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

Game 4 – Sun April 28, Denver at Golden State, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Denver at Golden State, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TNT

(4) L.A. CLIPPERS VS. (5) MEMPHIS

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Mon April 22, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Thu April 25, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 4 – Sat April 27, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 1:30 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD

___________________________________________________

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) MIAMI vs. (8) MILWAUKEE 

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Milwaukee at Miami, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Milwaukee at Miami, 4:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 3 – Thu April 25, Miami at Milwaukee, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 4 – Sun April 28, Miami at Milwaukee, 12:30 p.m., ABC

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Miami at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD, TNT

(2) NEW YORK vs. (7) BOSTON

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Boston at New York, 12 p.m., ABC/R

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Boston at New York, 5 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, New York at Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 - Sun April 28, New York at Boston, 10 a.m., ABC/R

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Boston at New York, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, New York at Boston, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Boston at New York, TBD, TBD

(3) INDIANA vs. (6) ATLANTA

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Atlanta at Indiana, 10 a.m., TNT

Game 2 – Wed April 24, Atlanta at Indiana, 4:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 3 – Sat April 27, Indiana at Atlanta, 4 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 – Mon April 29, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TBD

(4) BROOKLYN vs. (5) CHICAGO

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Chicago at Brooklyn, 5 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Mon April 22, Chicago at Brooklyn, 5 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Thu April 25, Brooklyn at Chicago, 5:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 4 - Sat April 27, Brooklyn at Chicago, 11 a.m., TNT

Game 5 * Mon April 29, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Brooklyn at Chicago, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD, TNT

* if necessary

 

Pettersen vs. de la Hoya

No. 8 Suzann Pettersen, who has been a three-time runnerup here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship got to play with a guy who’s tasted victory and the agony of defeat a few times in his career — not on the course but in the ring.

Pettersen played her pro-am round with boxing great Oscar de la Hoya before the start of today’s first round here at Mission Hills Country Club.

She started the tournament at 4-under and is one of the early leaders with some players still waiting to tee off.

She said the two compared the preparation for each sport, the similarities and she was surprised by his demeanor.

“If you don’t know who he is, I don’t think you would ever guess that he was a boxer,” she said. “He’s just too nice of a guy and quite tiny to be a boxer. But I know he was very quick, and super nice guy.

“It’s always nice to kind of talk back and forth, comparisons to each sport and similarities of how you prepare to go in. Obviously for him, he needed to be in the ring. He was petrified to step in, but once he stepped in, he was on.”

We’ll see if Pettersen can provide the knockout punch this weekend.

 

 

My brush with Alice Cooper today

I was at valet of the Kraft Nabisco Championship and I saw Alice Cooper standing next to a Ferrari. I yelled out, ‘Is that your ride.’ Alice looks at me and says ‘no.’ Then the valet pulls up in his Avanti.  Alice says, ‘My car is much better.’ He gets in the car and drives off.

Why Tennis Channel is more important than ever

Well it wasn’t the best of months for tennis in America. First, the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open was on one of ESPN’s many networks, but a lot of fans struggled to find it. And then Sunday, the men’s final of the Sony Open cut off just as Andy Murray and David Ferrer were going into a third-set tiebreaker on CBS because of the start of the Michigan-Florida blowout.

The tennis people don’t want to admit this, but they’re low on the totem pole as far as network executives are concerned. If you’re not a slam, you’ll get shoddy treatment.

But if you were paying attention to Tennis Channel, they continue to do an excellent job giving fans what they want. A really great moment for the Tennis Channel was at the BNP Paribas Open, when the matches went long and Novak Djokovic had to play a match beginning after midnight. Tennis Channel stayed with the coverage and it was fantastic. And you won’t get the cutoff like you had with CBS on Sunday, and you’ll always know where to catch the matches … uninterrupted.

The BNP Paribas Open has a strong desire to be on a network, so they continue to have a contract with ESPN with hopes of getting on ABC. They need to give up on the networks, like many of the views have. If you look at the television landscape in entertainments, very few of the best shows are on network. They are on AMC, or the premium networks. I’m talking about Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Girls, Dexter, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire and Walking Dead. You can build a strong audience and good buzz as all those shows have. As a fan, I never cared about AMC, but once I got hooked on Mad Men and Breaking Bad, it’s become appointment TV.

Hopefully the BNP Paribas Open and Sony Open will take note.