I covered the Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad fight in 2001 at Madison Square Garden, the biggest victory of Hopkins' career, the one that raised his profile to an international level. Never thought that 10 years later I'd read a sentence saying Hopkins "looked the fresher man throughout the bout" against a world champion.
The crazy things that come out of his mouth can't disguise the fact that Hopkins - now the oldest man to win a major world championship at age 46 after his unanimous decision Saturday night in Montreal over WBC light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal - is the most important fight figure in this town in the last quarter-century, and maybe one of the great ring tacticians of all-time. Hopkins obviously knows his defensive fight style isn't charismatic, so he takes care of that part outside the ring. Another brilliant tactic. (Sorry, Donovan, he's not done with you yet.)
Joe Miegoc, former sports editor of the Pocono Record, is out with a new book, a history of Pocono Raceway titled Pocono: NASCAR's Northern Invasion. Full disclosure: I've never been to Pocono, my most recent experience with cars was smashing the side mirror pulling out of my garage, and I get a lot of my NASCAR news from reading Frank Fitzpatrick. But there's no denying the importance of the local track to the sport and its history. Miegoc also notes that he is "somewhat of a Philly guy, having graduated from Girard College in 1967" as well as an Eagles and Phillies season-ticket holder.
. . . asking about the sharpest local coach or manager - might have to include Union manager Peter Nowak in that group. The baseball club isn't the only local in first despite an anemic offense. The Union finally scored two goals in a game for the first time in their 10th game, a 2-1 victory Saturday over Chicago. Nowak's club is in first place in the MLS East despite scoring just eight goals. (Comparison: L.A.'s Landon Donovan has seven goals by himself.) Let's assume that the goals will start coming slightly more frequently, and PPL Park will remain a place to be all season. (And for those who said MLS soccer couldn't make it here, that there wouldn't be enough of a fan base, you're losing the argument week by week. Even without goals, Saturday's attendance was about normal: 18,372.)
But I'll pay attention to the horse picks of tracksideview.com's Ron Correll in the future since he was the only person asked to make Kentucky Derby picks by the Louisville Courier-Journal who had the Derby winner and Preakness winner in his trifecta. (Correll had Dialed In first followed by Preakness winner Shackleford and Derby winner Animal Kingdom).
For the record, former Inquirer handicapper Craig Donnelly, still the best in the business, and making a guest selection for the paper last week, had Shackleford second and Animal Kingdom third in the Preakness. If you exacta-boxed Donnelly's three picks, always a savvy play, you won $114.80 from a $12 investment. Go to CraigDonnellypicks.com for his Parx Racing and Delaware Park selections.
And no, unfortunately, the Preakness winner was not named for the oft-maligned-by-Charles Barkley-and-everybody-else former 76ers backup center. That was an actual rumor that the horse's owners disclaimed, explaining that they vacation on the Shackleford Islands off the Carolina coast, where wild horses roam. (Most famous quote by Charles Shackleford himself: "Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious.")