Can Spence vs. Crawford live up to all the hype?
The welterweight unification title fight between undefeated fighters Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is intriguing.
Good morning and welcome to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It’s free and will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. OK, let’s get to it!
1. Can Spence vs. Crawford live up to all the hype?
The welterweight unification title fight between undefeated fighters Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is intriguing, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp.
The hype machine was dialed up to “11.” The trash talking was also at a high level. The trainers were woofing at each other and the audience hurled catcalls at both of the principals.
I guess that boxing will never change. Though watching Mike Tyson spin a basketball on his finger before the press conference was something I wasn’t expecting.
So it was at T-Mobile Arena Thursday as Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. commanded the microphones to give their thoughts on their undisputed welterweight unification title fight Saturday. Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia may have thought they had the “Fight of the Year” when they met in April. But with all due respect to those two excellent fighters, it doesn’t rise to the level of Spence-Crawford, who are a combined 67-0 with 52 knockouts.
2. Angels keep Ohtani while bolstering pitching staff with Giolito and Lopez
The baseball world has revolved around the Angels in 2023, with the looming free agency of Shohei Ohtani and any potential move that could send the worldwide superstar elsewhere, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Taylor Blake Ward.
Wednesday morning, the Angels were rained out in Detroit with a double-header scheduled for Thursday. The Angels couldn’t dictate any needle moving in their direction at least for 24 hours, and saw their status drop a half-game naturally with a Toronto victory over the Dodgers, now seeing the Halos four games out of a wildcard spot with 120 hours before the trade deadline.
The baseball world has revolved around the Angels and the trade deadline in 2023, with the looming free agency of Shohei Ohtani and any potential move that could land the worldwide superstar anywhere but Anaheim for the final two months of the season. Those queries of where he could land and what it would take to acquire him were cancelled by Wednesday afternoon when Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated posted an exclusive article with the Lede staring right at your face in the first sentence: “Shohei Ohtani is off the trade market.”
The article continued to discuss the state of the Angels going into the deadline which included the key words: “become buyers.”
3. Chargers QB Justin Herbert can now ‘just play football’ after big extension
The fans crowded the fence on day one to get an autograph from their newly re-signed quarterback Justin Herbert, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando Ramirez.
There was a lot of excitement at Jack Hammett Sports Complex on Wednesday morning as the Los Angeles Chargers started their first day of training camp.
It was also the day after quarterback Justin Herbert signed his five-year $262.5 million extension. He walked onto the field for practice, fans cheering and yelling out well wishes to the fourth-year quarterback.
“Words aren’t enough to express how thankful and how glad I am to be part of this organization,” Herbert said. “I had complete faith in them from the get-go. I’ve never wanted to be anywhere else.
After practice, Herbert broke the team down, and that is when he was splashed with Gatorade as a congratulations from the team.
4. Jimmy G settles in with the Raiders
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was on the field for the first day of Raiders training camp and had no trouble fitting in with his new teammates, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp.
On a typically hot July summer’s day, the Raiders opened training camp with their starting quarterback on the field and participating fully in the drills.
Jimmy Garoppolo, who had been cleared to practice earlier in the week after having surgery in March for a foot injury which kept him out of minicamp. Wednesday, Jimmy G looked relaxed and ready to play.
Looking for a positive, Raiders fans? There you go. Of course, the big question is, “For how long?”
Garoppolo’s durability has been in question for most of his NFL career. It goes back to 2016 when he was still with New England and he suffered a sprained shoulder. His run with the San Francisco 49ers had been a veritable pothole-filled road of mishaps. There was the torn ACL in his left knee in 2018. There was the high right ankle sprain in 2020. In 2021, he suffered a calf strain, then a fractured thumb. In January of 2022, he sprained his shoulder in the playoffs against Dallas. And in December, he broke his foot, leading to surgery in March.
5. For LeBron James, right now, it’s family over hoops
There are more important things than basketball for the James family, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Josh Fisher.
LeBron James has had his basketball games air on live television ever since he was in high school. Once he debuted for the Cleveland Cavaliers, every play, decision, and quote has been a subject of comment, discussion, and speculation. We know LeBron’s business, we know LeBron’s friends, and perhaps, most intimately, we know his family.
The man known as King James has often willingly shared his broad spotlight with his family. We know them collectively as ‘The James Family,’ and we also know them individually. Aside from Lebron himself, the most notable family member is his first son, LeBron James, Jr., who goes by the moniker Bronny.
As an incoming freshman at the University of Southern California, Bronny James has been on the path to match the performance fans expect. Still, questions swirl; could a son of LeBron James ever live up to the hype? While his natural skills and physique don’t match his father’s, Bronny James continually improved his game each year throughout high school and now plays with top-tier effort on BOTH ends of the basketball court.
6. USC opens camp, eager to build off of last year’s success
After hitting rock bottom at 4-8 in 2021, the Trojans improved to 11-3 in 2022. They hope to be even better in 2023, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Adam Bradford.
“The longer we go, the better we get.”
That, according to junior linebacker Raesjon Davis, has been USC’s motto all offseason. And as the Trojans get set to open Fall Camp early Friday morning ahead of year two of the Lincoln Riley era, the mantra will likely be prevalent in the team’s locker room throughout the fall.
Last season, USC was able to accomplish a lot. After hitting rock bottom at 4-8 in 2021, the Trojans improved markedly to 11-3 in 2022. They defeated rivals UCLA and Notre Dame, played for the Pac-12 championship, and earned a bid to the Cotton Bowl. And quarterback Caleb Williams became the eighth USC player to take home the Heisman Trophy.
However, it is no secret the way that the season ended left a bad taste in the mouths of USC players and fans alike. The Trojans ended their 2022 campaign with a frustrating loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, followed by an embarrassing late collapse against Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today.
6:40 p.m. – Rangers at Padres –$50
7:00 p.m. – Reds at Dodgers – $34
9. On the Air presented by The D Las Vegas
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today.
4:07 p.m. – Angels at Blue Jays – Bally Sports West
6:40 p.m. – Rangers at Padres –Bally Sports San Diego
7:00 p.m. – Reds at Dodgers – SportsNet LA
7:00 p.m. – San Diego Wave at OL Reign – Paramount+
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Adrian Hernandez, Brandon Deutsch and Armani Buckets as they talk to Slam Dunk champion Mac McClung.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
Thank you for reading. Please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. It’s free and will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
That’s it for today. Talk to you on Monday!