When Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally confirmed their long-anticipated bout would go down on May 2, sports fans immediately circled the date on their calendar.
It just so happens that the "most exciting two minutes in sports" (aka The Kentucky Derby) will be held on the same day. Those two events alone have thrust this coming Saturday into rarified sports air. But with the NFL draft underway and NBA and NHL playoff games also on the schedule, could May 2, 2015 be the "most exciting 24 hours" in sports history?
The high-profile events on Saturday are already guaranteed to be a historic financial bonanza. Revenue for Pacquiao-Mayweather fight may hit a record $400 million, pay-per-view buys are nearing 4 million and single tickets have fetched more than $40,000. One writer predicts that wagering on the fight and the Kentucky Derby could hit $300 million.
Even before the "fight of the century" date was announced, May 2 was shaping up to be an exciting sports day. In addition to the Run for the Roses, the sports schedule is loaded:
- The NBA playoffs are in full swing and Saturday night will feature a do-or-die Game 7 matchup between the defending champion San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Round 2 of the NHL playoffs are also heating up. On Saturday afternoon, the New York Rangers host the Washington Capitals after the Caps won a thrilling Game 1 at Madison Square Garden.
- Soccer fans can watch Manchester City take on Tottenham, a match that headlines a full day of action as the English Premier League winds down.
- Die-hard (American) football fans will be tracking the third and final day of the NFL Draft - a day in which future stars have been plucked by savvy GMs. Look no further than Dwight Clark (49ers, 10th round, 1981), Terrell Davis (Broncos, 6th round, 1995), Russell Wilson (Seahawks, 3rd round, 2012) ... and a guy named Tom Brady, who was picked in the 6th round of the 2000 draft by the Patriots.
- A classic MLB rivalry will take center stage as the Boston Red Sox host the New York Yankees Saturday afternoon. Furthermore, two of the past three AL Cy Young Award winners are also scheduled to take the mound - Corey Kluber (Indians) and David Price (Rays).
- Did we mention rugby? The final of the European Champions Cup will be held on Saturday at London's Twickenham Stadium.
Of course, this Saturday's ultimate place in the sports pantheon won't depend on the schedule but the drama of the fight, the thrill of the race and the quality of the games. In that regard, Saturday may not be able to top an epic sports day 80 years ago.
On May 25, 1935, track-and-field star Jesse Owens set three world records and tied a fourth at a meet at the University of Michigan. On the very same day, a 40-year-old slugger playing for the Boston Braves hit three home runs -- including the final one of his career. The player's 714th career homer was the first ball ever to be hit completely over the right-field roof at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field.
The player's name was Babe Ruth.