Laila Ali, Manny Pacquiao, Tom Brady and Tuesday's Late Sports Buzz
Laila Ali, Manny Pacquiao and Tom Brady are three notable sports names buzzing around in the news today.
Manny Pacquiao has just landed in the United States as he gets ready to fight Sugar Shane Mosley.
Are we in for a blockbuster fight in May? Well, Mosley has just said he will knock Pacquiao out. Sounds pretty ambitious for an almost 40-year-old over-the-hill boxer.
But his trash-talk just makes for a much more interesting storyline.
What else is brewing?
Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has just announced the birth of her second child.
And Tom Brady is making headlines as he's been named as a lead plaintiff in the decertified players union's antitrust lawsuit.
For more information on the trending topics and all other top news updates, stay right here!
Rima Fakih Reportedly Dating Blue Jays Pitcher Ricky Romero
It's been a busy start to the month of April for Miss USA Rima Fakih.
During Rick Romero's opening day start for the Toronto Blue Jays, his relationship with the beauty queen was reported by Toronto broadcasters on television, per NESN.
Shortly after that, she was announced as a contestant on the USA reality show WWE Tough Enough.
It must be the season for beauty queen and athlete romances.
Just a week ago, word broke out the Dallas Mavericks reserve guard J.J. Barea was dating former Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera. Now Fakih will be joining the ranks of sports WAGs.
But don't let the pageant dress and Miss America sash fool you—this pageant queen is not your stereotypical girly girl. She's got some fight in her.
Fakih, besides being the hot girlfriend of an MLB pitcher, is now one of 12 contestants on the WWE reality show.
Every week, she will compete to have a shot at becoming a future WWE diva.
I may be going out on a limb here, but with Fakih's willingness to mix it up in the wrestling ring, she'll probably be the hands-down winner should we have a Miss Universe vs. Miss USA matchup between her and Zuleyka Rivera.
Not that I'm shamelessly trying to promote such a matchup. How 'bout it, Zuleyka?
Dallas Cowboys' Martellus Bennett Advocating Quarterback Competition
Since the firing of Wade Phillips and the midseason changing of the guard to Jason Garrett, there has been a conscious effort in Dallas to get the most out of their players, especially the extremely well-paid ones.
One of those names that the Cowboys will likely want to ensure keeps playing at a high level is top quarterback Tony Romo.
But with last season's poor start and early struggles, Romo be turning into the designated franchise scapegoat.
"I loved playing with Kitna," Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett said on ESPN 103.3's Ben & Skin Show. "Kitna is one of my favorite people to play with. Just being out there on the field with that guy just makes you play even harder. He made some things happen in limited time, so I think if he got a longer chance, he'd be able to do more.
"I hope there's a chance for a quarterback competition this year. Every position, I think we need to put more competition into it."
Is this a sign that Romo is losing popularity in the Cowboys locker room?
It sure sounds like it. After the Cowboys' turnaround under Kitna last season, it may not be too far-fetched to see a quarterback controversy brewing in Dallas.
But it's probably unrealistic to think the will Cowboys quit on Romo in favor of the 38-year-old Kitna, with $30 million of Romo's six-year $67 million deal still guaranteed.
Perhaps Bennett was just trying to find a way to motivate his teammates and make sure they don't lose focus when the time comes.
Does Golf's Top Ranking Translate to Augusta Success as a 2011 Masters Favorite?
As the 2011 Masters gets underway, many consider the sports No. 1 ranking to be up for grabs.
Although Kaymer is a top-five favorite among oddsmakers to win the event with 22/1 odds, he doesn't exactly have history in his favor.
Kaymer has failed to make much of an impact in any of his previous appearances.
"If you've learned one thing over the years from watching the Masters, it's that past success and local knowledge play a huge role. This will be Kaymer's fourth Masters, and so far he's failed to make a cut. Could he go out there and get into contention this year? Definitely. But his past record says otherwise. Kaymer could put on a green jacket someday, but it won't be this year."
Kaymer is the world's top golfer, and for that reason, he deserves to be mentioned as a top contender for this tournament. That said, his inability to make the cut in any other Masters appearances is a cause for concern.
There's plenty of pressure on Kaymer to do well. He's even been said to be learning a new draw swing, which could utlimately backfire and further hinder his performance on the Augusta greens.
With Phil Mickelson playing very good golf heading into the tournament and Tiger Woods' history of past successes, as well as Lee Westwood's second-place finish last year, the odds of a Kaymer green jacket just get cloudier by the day.
When the Notre Dame Irish upset the almost unbeatable UConn Huskies, it marked the end of the college career of UConn star and women's college basketball sensation, Maya Moore.
But as Irish luck would have it, basketball fans upon a new face with just as much star power as Moore: Skylar Diggins.
Diggins, a sophomore All-American, immediately made an impression with her moves on the basketball court as well as her attractive looks.
"The Notre Dame sophomore's smooth playmaking skills, Madison Avenue smile and effortless charisma give her more crossover appeal than any other women's college basketball player," writes Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports.
Diggins averaged 14.3 points and 4.3 assists for the Fighting Irish this season and helped lead them to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Soon after taking down the top-ranked Huskies, Higgins became an overnight sensation. She even received props from celebrities Lil Wayne and Chris Brown via Twitter.
Will Diggins be the new face of NCAA women's basketball?
You can bet on it.
It's only been days since the Final Four and she's already getting an Allison Stokke-like following around the World Wide Web.
It's because Higgin's has the perfect blend of basketball talent and movie star good looks that draw people to her.
Although she failed to win the national championship with Notre Dame, despite her 23 points, there's a new face to root for in women's college basketball.
Whether she likes it or not, Skylar Diggins, will continue to get a lot of talk and attention for the next two years.
Will Lee Westwood Shine in Masters 2011?
After Tiger Woods' fall from atop the standings, Westwood took over the post as the world's best golfer from October to February.
But after his short-lived time at the top, Westwood hasn't exactly played well and lived up to the billing of being No. 1.
Now heading into the Masters tournament, there are still question marks surrounding Westwood's ability to win a major tournament.
"Five months ago Westwood would have been the smart pick here, but he just doesn't have the same momentum he had then, and his scores show it. Tiger Woods has been criticized mightily for his play of late, but Westwood hasn't been that much better, and he's currently ranked higher. Look for a top-20 finish from Lee, but not much more than that."
Westwood has the course experience from last year's second-place finish to win it all.
But the thing with Westwood is that he tends to crumble when the pressure is on, even though he has all the talent to hang with the best of them.
Expect his run of major tournament letdowns to continue this week in Augusta—if he's feeling the heat near the end, he's more likely to fall flat in the finish than to come out on top.
Why Masters 2011 Odds Are in Phil Mickelson's Favor
Here's the Top 5:
- Phil Mickelson (6/1): Lefty's game is on an upward slope. He's coming off his first win of the season with a win at the Shell Houston Open last weekend. Now he's heading into Augusta with a lot of momentum. The Masters is where he's been able to do very well throughout his career. With a short game suited for this course and Tiger still battling inconsistency, the win and a spot as world's No. 1 golfer are there for the taking.
- Tiger Woods (8/1): In his last six Masters appearances, Woods has found himself among the Top 5 finishers five times. Experience is very important in this tournament and Woods is a four-time green jacket winner. If Lefty's surge to the top of the rankings doesn't motivate Woods to improve his game, he may never find his game.
- Lee Westwood (14/1): Westwood finished last year's Masters in second place and has had the uncanny distinction of being a former world No. 1 that has never won a major. He's always been there near the end in his most recent major appearances but just hasn't been able to pull it off. This might be the year he does it.
- Nick Watney (14/1): The 29-year-old Watney is an up-and-comer that could make a big splash in this year's Masters. He was a standout during the Ryder Cup and had a very solid run in Augusta last year, finishing in seventh place. With the course experience under his belt, Watney could be there at the end.
- Martin Kaymer (22/1): He needs to be on this list simply because he's ranked as the world's No. 1 golfer. Word is he has been heavily preparing for the Masters trying to erase his history of poor performances in the course.
Is Tiger Woods Getting Too Much Hate?
For the past few months since Tiger Woods came back to the sport of golf, every time he has made a tournament appearance, the same question has been asked: Will this be the one where Tiger shows the world he's back?
For Tiger, it has been a very unforgiving world. There's rarely anymore talk about the 14 major wins he's racked up at such a young age. Instead, it's been replaced by a general sense of disappointment from the public for his personal and mental struggles, as well as a general belief that he'll never be the same golfer we once knew he was.
"Has any sports star's fall from the heavens ever spiraled this far for this long? While other sports villains in this country are eventually forgiven through the healing of time and the power of success, Woods has enjoyed neither, remaining perpetually locked behind the bars of public perception."
It's true, the masses have been extremely hard on Tiger. But he did fall from a very high perch.
Not only was he the world's best golfer, he was widely perceived as the world's best athlete.
Sorry Tiger, you're not going to get off that easy.
You don't get a mulligan in real life. You have to earn it.
If you want the public to give you a break, you're going to have to do your part on the golf course.
Then you can silence the critics by winning.
Will Tiger Woods Surge to Leaderboard in this 2011 Masters Prediction?
Over the past six Masters tournaments, Tiger Woods has finished in the Top 5 on five occasions.
But earlier this week, English golfer Ian Poulter boldy made the prediction that Tiger won't find himself back in the Top 5 of this year's Masters.
To which Woods responded through reporters: "Well, Poulter is always right, isn't he? My whole idea is to try to win the golf tournament and that's what I'm trying to do. My whole idea is to prepare. I've prepared all year to peak four times a year and that has not changed, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Be careful Mr. Poulter, you don't want to get Tiger growling.
Now is the ideal time for Tiger to regain his golf game, to show the world that he's back and ready to make a run at Jack Nicklaus' record 18 career majors.
CBSSports.com writes: "Given that Woods' victory drought extends to the fall of 2009, it seems like the odds of the Nicklaus mark falling are growing increasingly less likely."
But he's almost certain to have a great showing in this year's Masters because of his competitive spirit.
The more Tiger hears about the lack of support, the more he gets fired up.
And more importantly he'll likely be pumped up because his greatest rival, Phil Mickelson, is on a run to take the No. 1 world ranking in golf.
The pressure is on and Tiger knows what is at stake.
Tiger will step up. Because if he doesn't, he may never get it back.
Kate Upton Shows Off Her Dancing Skills
The Los Angeles Clippers have been giving fans more and more reasons to watch their dynamic young basketball team with their electric emergence of rookie sensation Blake Griffin this season.
Over the weekend, the Staples Center provided even more entertainment than usual when your everyday garden-variety supermodel, Kate Upton, was spotted in the stands doing dancing to the music playing in the loudspeakers —a tune from Cali Swag District called Teach Me How to Dougie.
As you can imagine, the video of Upton showing her dance moves from the basketball stands immediately went viral.
For some us who have already seen the 18-year-old Upton on the pages of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition, it was just more convincing evidence that Ms. Upton is a rising star.
She's young, she's beautiful and best of all she can do the Dougie!
Not only that but she appears to have a very fun and cheerful personality. Now that's something special.
If only we can get Upton on next season's cast list of Dancing with the Stars.
Dancing Victoria Secret models may be the perfect way to draw in even more male viewers.
The 2011 Masters Will Be a Big Opportunity for Phil Mickelson to Shine
It was only a few weeks ago when people were wondering about Phil Mickelson's tragic luck, because despite Tiger Woods' struggles, he still hadn't surpassed in the world rankings.
That all changed after the Shell Houston Open.
Lefty is now No. 3 in the world rankings and Tiger is No. 7. For the first time since 1997, Phil is ranked above Tiger.
As we approach the 2011 Masters, Phil is on the rise and he may finally take over the No. 1 spot as son as this tournament is over.
Because the Masters is where he shines.
"Getting up and down for par from spots where other golfers make double bogey when the shadows lengthen on Masters Sundays is why Mickelson has won three of the past seven Masters. While Augusta National rewards long hitters, it reserves its greatest rewards for those who also have 'the touch of the velvet hand,' to borrow a phrase from."
Lefty, known for his terrific short game, is starting to pick up his game at the perfect time as he heads into a tournament which plays to his strengths
Everything is starting to point to a Mickelson rise to No. 1.
With the Shell Houston Open serving as his warmup and the last year's Masters win as a building block, Mickelson may get his long-awaited time in the spotlight.
After spending the early part of the offseason partying in Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, the franchise quarterback of the New England Patriots and future Hall of Famer now finds himself front-and-center of this ongoing NFL labor dispute.
Brady has now been named as the lead plaintiff of the decertified union's antitrust lawsuit against the league: Brady et al v. NFL.
At first glance, this decision to catapult Brady into the spotlight like this may raise concerns that it could ruin his image.
But Brady, with his three Super Bowl championships, two Super Bowl MVP trophies and two NFL MVP awards, is the perfect choice to be the lead plaintiff. Not only because of what he's done but also because of where he came from.
"Brady’s role, conversely, had been largely low-key until the lawsuit was filed....part of Brady’s leadership brilliance has always been rooted in a sincere sense that he’s no more special than the teammates who make his success possible. Part of this is because of who Brady is, and part of it because of where he came from: Drafted 199th overall and relegated to fourth-string duty as a rookie, this is a superstar who remembers what it’s like to be anonymous."
A quarterback is the undisputed leader on the football field, and a quarterback had to be the leader in this lawsuit.
Forget about Peyton Manning and his four NFL MVP's and Drew Brees and his magical Super Bowl run in the 2009 season. Both Manning and Brees both came into the league as highly touted quarterbacks, Manning a No. 1 pick and Brees the first guy picked out of the second round.
Brady is a guy that has literally exceeded expectations and came out of nowhere after being drafted by the Patriots from Michigan.
And that's what makes him the perfect guy to lead this lawsuit. Every single player in the league can relate to him. From the guys buried deep in their respective rosters to the standout superstars of their franchises.
Now more than ever, Brady is expected to represent an entire group of players looking to earn their rightful share of the profits that the league brings in every year.
For the casual fan, seeing Brady's name on this lawsuit may not be as impressive as watching him throw a deep touchdown pass in the end zone.
But it definitely shouldn't be ignored.
This lead plaintiff role is probably one of the most important roles he has ever played in his career.
The Masters 2011 Opening Round Schedule Is Available Here
Round 1: Thursday April 7, 2011
|30||1:26 pm||Stewart Cink|
|33||1:59 pm||Gary Woodland|
Manny Pacquiao Shouldn't Underestimate Mosley
One of the most anticipated fights this year will be the May matchup between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.
Now that Pacman is back in the United States to prepare of his fight against Mosley, there's a lot of anticipation leading up to the actual main event.
Now the fun has started and the trash talk has begun.
"I think that I am the best finisher that he’s faced. I think that he’s faced other fighters and he’s proven that he can fight his way out of trouble sometimes. But I don’t think that he’s faced anybody who is as fast as me and who actually hits as hard as I do. I think that I’m going to knock him out."
Mosley has had a remarkable career and has actually done a couple of things that Pacquiao has never done: fight Floyd Mayweather and knockout Antonio Margarito.
Although his statement of knocking down Pacquiao is bold, it's not exactly unrealistic. During Mosley's fight against Floyd Mayweather last May, he nearly knocked down "Pretty Boy" with a pair of right hand jabs in the second round. He was that close to changing the momentum and possibly taking down the never-been-defeated Mayweather.
Mosley has the power to throw a knockout punch as evidenced by his win against former Pacquiao foe the big Antonio Margarito.
If Mosley finds an opening early, he just may score an upset. But if Pacquiao uses his speed and elusiveness to tire out the 39-year-old Mosley, then it would be to his benefit.
The longer this fight drags on, the harder it would be for Mosley to find his opportunities.
"Sugar" may have a chance to knockout Pacquiao but he has a really small window to get the job done. If he fails to take advantage, Pacquiao will likely dominate the remainder of the match and Mosley will just have to remind himself that he's getting a big payday to get his butt kicked.
Laila Ali, the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and wife of former NFL wide receiver Curtis Conway delivered a baby girl on Monday morning, according to her Twitter account.
Ali tweeted (@TheRealLailaAli): "I had my baby girl this morning! Sydney arrived on her due date at 3am! Everyone is happy and healthy."
The new addition to their family is the second child for Conway and Ali. They also have a 2 1/2 year old son together, Curtis Muhammad Conway, Jr.
Should we be looking forward to a future star athlete in the next two decades?
The bloodlines are there. Granfather Muhammad has to be the best heavyweight boxing has ever known, mother Laila was also a very capable fighter in her own right and father, Curtis, was former first-round NFL draft pick as a wide receiver.
One thing that we can probably count on is: These Conway-Ali kids probably won't shy away from contact in their childhood or in their adult life.