Saturday looked to be one of the best days in recent memory for sports fans but it took a hit with I’ll Have Another pulling out of the Belmont, but should be phenomenal regardless.
Starting at nine am, Maria Sharapova goes for her career Grand Slam against Italian and 21st ranked Sara Errani. Sharapova hasn’t won a Grand Slam singles title since 2008, but will end up with the world number one ranking regardless of the result. Errani won the doubles title today and seeks to become the first to win both since 2000. I think this is the pre-shoulder injury Sharapova and she will win this in three sets to become the 10th woman to complete the career Grand Slam.
Later at noon the “Group of Death” gets started at Euro 2012 with the Netherlands taking on Denmark. The Dutch were the runner-up at the World Cup in 2010 and knows that the Danes are the weak-link in this group and have to get a win, and I think they will 3-0.
Next is Germany vs. Portugal at 2:30 and this should be one of the better qualifying games of the tournament. Germany is considered by many, myself included, to be the favorites to win the entire tournament with their mix of youth and experience. Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani from Real Madrid and Manchester United running down the wings and creating chances, but it will be up to the strikers to connect on those opportunities. I don’t see that happening enough and the Germans should win 2-1.
At 4 pm the Tigers take on the Cincinnati Reds as Verlander goes against Bronson Arroyo. Detroit is still trying to get to the top of the AL Central and are led by Miguel Cabrera in batting average, home runs, RBI and runs. The Reds are two games up on the surprise Pirates and defending champion Cardinals and are led by Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Expecting the Tigers to keep the offense rolling and beat the Reds 6-2.
Around 6:30 is the Belmont Stakes that has lost almost all of the excitement with I’ll Have Another pulling out of his chance at the Triple Crown. The current favorite now is Dullahan who came in third at the Kentucky Derby at 9-5. In a complete guess I’m going with Paynter (7-2) to win, Atigun (15-1) to place and Dullahan (9-5) to show.
At 8 pm the Kings are up 3-1 in the series and are at the Devils for Game 5. LA has been amazing this offseason, going undefeated on the road so far and I see them closing out this series on the road as well. Jonathon Quick should win the Conn Smyth as the Kings close out the cup with a 3-0 victory.
A half-an-hour after the start of the Cup game, the Celtics are in Miami for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami retook the control of the series with a 19-point win to force a game seven as LeBron became the second player ever to have 45+ points, 15+ rebounds and 5+ assists. LeBron did play well in Game 6 but I don’t think that he will repeat a dominant performance and the Celtics will prevail and head to the NBA Finals, 92-88.
Finally, Manny Pacquiao defends his WBO Welterweight title against undefeated Timothy Bradley. To prevent any sort of competition between the Celtics-Heat game, promoter Bob Arum already announced this fight will not start until that game is over. As for the fight itself, this may be the toughest fight of Pac-man’s career. Bradley is 28-0-0 with 12 wins by KO and is considered the pound-for-pound eighth best fighter in the world according to Ring. As for Pacquiao (54-3-2 38 KO’s) this was supposed to be the fight against Mayweather but he may have gotten a tougher bout with Bradley. I think that this fight could go all 12 rounds and will be a split decision win for Pacquiao, but a very close fight overall.
That’s what I think about this big weekend in sports, feel free to tell me how wrong you think I am in the comments below.