Hi everybody! This is Gabe Fernandez coming to you not live at an undisclosed compound in the United States to guide you to the start of the week this fine Monday morning.
Today’s newsletter will cover the still-absolutely-wild-to-think-about boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and YouTuber Logan Paul. It was a reminder that we live in hell, but also got me thinking of what kind of insane competitions between a celebrity and a professional athlete we could put together. Maybe we could get a recently-retired NBA player to go up against an actor known for his basketball-playing. Adam Sandler can apparently hoop, let’s get him to ball against, like, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was last seen balling in the Big Three.
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Anyways, what else could we put together? Let me know on Twitter.
Today we’ve got the aforementioned “bout,” Julio Jones getting traded and NBA postseason updates. Let’s go!
? What you need to know1. Julio Jones gets traded to the Titans ?
Of course we’re going to kick things off with one of the greatest receivers of his generation getting traded. Thanks to our cornucopia of NFL writers on staff, Jones’s move to Tennessee has been dissected every which way one could possibly break such a thing down. There’s a post for those interested in:
Wow, that’s so much content! To just dip your toes in the large body of water that we’ve created with Jones-related articles, here’s football scribe Cody Benjamin explaining why the Falcons are the “loser” of this trade.
- Benjamin: “Firstly, they’re down a stud WR, which doesn’t exactly help new coach Arthur Smith’s bid to rejuvenate Matt Ryan’s career (and yes, it needs at least some rejuvenation). Kyle Pitts helps offset things at pass catcher, but Pitts-Calvin Ridley-Russell Gage/Tajae Sharpe is not the same as Pitts-Ridley-Julio. Don’t you dare suggest Falcons fans should be celebrating this because now the team can sign its own draft picks, either. Since when do we applaud clubs for auctioning all-time players so they can dig themselves out of their own financial holes?”
It’s hard to argue with this reasoning, especially given how when you think about recent major trades involving high-caliber receivers leaving teams, there’s usually some narrative painting the move as selfish, and demonizing the player’s character. There’s almost none of that for Jones, which speaks to how badly the Falcons have messed things up.
Even the most curmudgeonly football fan can only shrug their shoulders and think “good for Julio!”
And good for him indeed. Loyalty to one team can only get you so far, and now that that loyalty is gone, he’s on not just a playoff contender, but a team that’s been elevated to a Super Bowl contender. You thought the Chiefs would be ruling the AFC for years to come, well here are the Titans now challenging Kansas City for that role. As a Ravens fan, I’ll be awaiting the inevitable revenge-revenge game in the postseason where Jones puts up a 300-yarder against Baltimore. As a football fan, I can’t deny how fun this is going to be.
2. NBA Playoffs: Clippers get it done against Mavericks; Hawks take Game 1 ?
In an absolutely devastating blow to Lakers fans hoping they could have something go their way this postseason, the Clippers did not fall to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. The Clips defeated the Mavs, 126-111, on Sunday, avoiding an embarrassing series defeat.
This isn’t a knock on the talented Mavericks, who nearly had Luka Doncic single-handedly drag Dallas kicking and screaming into the second round, but more a shot at Los Angeles. Doc Rivers’s squad intentionally dropped games at the end of the season so that they could avoid playing teams they perceived to be more talented than the Mavs, despite being a lower seed. So, if they ended up losing, the late-season losses would look like the team accidentally digging its own grave — which, for banter’s sake, would have been very, very funny.
Anyways, here’s CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney explaining what helped lift the Clippers into a first-round victory on Sunday.
- Maloney: As expected, Kawhi Leonard was terrific in this game, going for 28 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in an all-around clinic. Paul George, meanwhile, had a bit of a rough shooting night, but still finished with 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds … they also got a ton of help from their supporting cast. Marcus Morris, in particular, was tremendous. He tied a career-high with seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in what was by far his best game of the series”
Elsewhere in the league, the Atlanta Hawks took Game 1 of their series against the Philadelphia 76ers. As Atlanta teams are wont to do, they nearly blew a huge lead late, but were able to hang on to keep the Atlanta sports fandom’s misery focused on losing Julio Jones.
3. Serena Williams loses, Roger Federer withdraws at French Open ?
Thanks to an upset and an injury, the French Open will be without two of the biggest names in the sport.
Here was Federer’s statement that was posted on Sunday.
- Federer: “After discussions with my team, I’ve decided I will need to pull out of Roland-Garros today. After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery. I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on the court.”
While it’s an upset in terms of seeding, it’s not necessarily an upset that a young talent was able to best Williams on a clay court. Out of the four Grand Slams, the French Open’s clay surface is where the 39 year old struggles the most — and that’s a relative term, of course, as she’s won three French Open titles. But that’s a mere half of what she’s won on other surfaces.
She’ll still have Wimbledon and the US Open to try and hit No. 24 of her career, which are grass and hard-court, respectively.
Anyways, it’s times like this where I’m glad I’m not a bigger household name or else I’d be getting called out for my poorly-aged article on how Williams had a rather smooth path to a French Open title this year with many of the top seeds in the women’s bracket falling by the wayside earlier. I’ve been owned.
4. Recapping Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul ?
Celebrity bouts aren’t anything new in the boxing world, but there’s something about the recent run of them in the United States that have seen particularly egregious in terms of their blatant cash-grabbing nature. Thus we have the Mayweather-Paul bout in which neither fighter could technically win without scoring a knockout.
In fact, there weren’t judges ringside to cover this whole event. Those who wanted to keep track of the bout scoring at home likely had Mayweather unsurprisingly defeating the guy famous for making YouTube videos. But in another way you could actually say Paul came out the winner, as he survived eight rounds against a former world champ — something a lot of us wouldn’t be able to claim under similar circumstances.
Thankfully, for those who wanted someone who knows what he’s talking about judging the fight, our Brent Brookhouse was on hand to give you an unofficial score update of the main event. He had Mayweather defeating Paul, 79-73, on his unofficial scoring card.
You can catch up on all the events of the night, including a fight that involved former All Pro wideout Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, at this link here.
? Odds & Ends? What to watch tonight
? Bruins vs. Islanders, 6:30 p.m. | BOS -185 | TV: NBCSN
? Nets vs. Bucks, 7:30 p.m. I NETS -120 I TV: TNT
? Suns vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. I SUNS -200 I TV: TNT
? Best thing I saw on the internet
Credit where credit is due: Eric Sogard made a diving effort towards first in an attempt to reach base safely so that he could help out his team on Sunday. Unfortunately, he forgot an important part of the base-running process was, well, touching the base, which he missed. You can catch his hilarious dive attempt here.