quasi in rem

Friday, June 04, 2004

Attention Sports Fans

Another huge sports weekend with so many choices. The Memorial Golf Tournament, which will be Tiger's be shot in a while to get off the schnide, the first game of the NBA Championship (the Lakers will win a close one here and go on to win the Finals in 6), the French open, featuring Ruskies and Argentinians (I think one of the Russian women finalists may be attractive but other than that meh), baseball, hot dogs and ultimate dodgeball.

But most importantly, are the Belmont Stakes and this weekend's fight card.

The Belmont is really a non-betting event for this year. Everyone, other than the other 8 jockey's and their owners in the field, wants Smarty Jones to win. He is only a 2/5 favorite right now, but I think that will grow by the time they open the gate. The problem is, why bet? If he wins you will win a few bucks in addition to seeing the first triple crown in decades. If he loses you compound your dissappointment with a betting loss. My inside betting source, lets call him Stumpy "Withers" McPhee, tells me to put $10.00 on Jones and just watch the race as a fan of racing. I tend to agree. I think he will win, but more than that, I really hope he wins, by a lot. If you must bet at least go for the exacta with Rock Hard Ten. It won't pay much but it increases your take a little.

If he wins it will be great and Philly will finally have a winner. (Although the fact that the horse is from Philly means that no-one should be surprised if Smarty Jones walks out of the gate, throws his jockey, and just lays down while a bunch of blue jays, rams, raiders, packers, lakers etc. etc. gather around and laugh laugh laugh.)

Also this weekend is nice little preview two fight cards featuring the funeral director Bernard Hopkins and Oscar "please buy my Crappy Album" de la Hoya. Hopkins may or may not show depending on his taste of referees but assuming both fights go off, here is what my inside boxing source, lets call him Punchy "Tin-Chin" McGraw, says about the fight:

Hopkins will cruise to a decision or late-round stoppage over Allen. Allen is a solid, well-rounded fighter, but everything Allen does well, Hopkins does better. So there is no way I can envision Allen fighting Allen's fight and winning. Hopkins TKO'd Allen in nine in one of their earlier fights (the other was a NC when Hopkins hurt his ankle b/c of roughhousing), and I expect about the same thing again. Expect some entertainment in the early rounds, but watch Bernard systematically break down his man and win a late-round TKO or lop-sided decision.

De La Hoya-Sturm is much harder for me to handicap because, like most Americans, I've never seen Sturm fight. Sturm has a very good amateur background. He fought (under his real name, Adnan Catic) at 156 in the 2000 Olympics and lost a 19-14 to the brilliant Jermain Taylor. As a pro he is 20-0 (9 KOs) against so-so opposition. Oscar is a tremendous step up for Sturm. But Sturm has the advantage of being the natural middleweight, he looks to be in tremendous condition, and he has everything to gain from this fight. I expect a much, much tougher contest that the oddsmakers predict. Without having seen him box, I can't predict a Sturm upset, and nothing in Sturm professional record suggests that he can handle a fighter of De La Hoya's caliber. My prediction: De La Hoya UD 12.

I think that de la Hoya is aching for a knockdown to prove himself at this new weight class and will be considerably less cautious than in previous fights.

I predict de la Hoya by TKO in the 4rth.


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