Chicago Bears

Why Pacquiao might never fight Mayweather

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Why Pacquiao might never fight Mayweather

From Comcast SportsNetLAS VEGAS (AP) -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. got almost everything he wanted Wednesday, receiving a boxing license and naming an opponent and a date for his next fight. The unbeaten champion got everything except a showdown with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather will fight Miguel Cotto on May 5 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden after Nevada's athletic commissioners granted him a conditional license for one fight before he goes to jail in June. Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) chose Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs), the respected Puerto Rican champion, as his next opponent only after failing to land a date with Pacquiao, the superstar Filipino congressman. The two sides have discussed what's likely to be the most lucrative fight in boxing history for nearly three years without reaching a deal. "I presented Pacquiao with the fight," Mayweather said after meeting with the Nevada commission. "Pacquiao is blowing a lot of smoke. ... He doesn't really want to fight. I gave him a chance to step up to the plate. We're talking about a 10 million fighter that I tried to give 40 million to. We didn't even talk about the back end." While Mayweather once appeared to be uninterested in the bout, he's now very interested -- but Pacquiao's interest appears to have cooled. In recent weeks, Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum repeatedly discounted the possibility of setting up the fight. Mayweather and Pacquiao are boxing's top two stars, and they have taunted each other with jabs including a posting on Twitter on Wednesday in which Mayweather referred to the Filipino star as "Miss Pac Man." They also have a defamation lawsuit pending in federal court in Las Vegas stemming from Mayweather's accusations that Pacquiao took performance-enhancing drugs. "He's ducking and dodging me," Mayweather said of Pacquiao. "He really didn't want to fight from the beginning. He got famous basically by piggybacking off my name. When you mention Floyd Mayweather, man, you mention an all-time great, an icon in the sport of boxing. When you mention Manny Pacquiao, they say, Oh, that's the guy who's trying to fight Floyd Mayweather.' When it's all said and done, all the guy did is just piggyback off my name." Mayweather will take on Cotto at light middleweight (69.9 kilograms, 154 pounds), a move up from the longtime welterweight's past four fights. Mayweather, who beat Oscar De La Hoya at super welterweight in 2007, beat Victor Ortiz last September to win the WBC welterweight title. Before getting his license on a 5-0 vote, Mayweather got a lecture from Nevada athletic commissioners. They told the fighter, his manager-promoter and his lawyer they want a prefight report May 1 to ensure Mayweather abides by conditions set by a Nevada judge in a criminal domestic violence case. He will begin serving 90 days in jail June 1, but is likely to serve only about 60. Commission Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino Jr. said it would be a "tragedy" if Mayweather didn't meet the requirements to make the multimillion-dollar Cinco de Mayo bout. Mayweather received a temporary reprieve on his short jail sentence last month so he could fight on a traditionally huge weekend for boxing in Las Vegas. "But we think Mr. Mayweather is certainly going to comply with this," Avansino said. Commissioner Pat Lundvall told Mayweather he can't postpone or delay serving his jail sentence and must stay out of trouble for the 14-plus weeks he's training to take on Cotto. "I'm just happy to be fighting May 5," Mayweather said as he emerged from the hearing room. "They granted me one fight. I need to conduct myself like a gentleman and do everything that the court ordered and then come back in front of them and show them that I deserve to have a license for a whole year." Mayweather, a seven-time world champion in five weight classes, will turn 35 this month. Cotto is coming off of the second defense of his title, a 10th-round technical knockout win over Antonio Margarito in December. Cotto's only defeats are against Margarito and Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in November 2009 in perhaps the Filipino champion's most impressive victory. "He's the best at 154," Mayweather said of Cotto. In a joint statement announcing the fight, Cotto said he intends to be the first boxer to beat Mayweather. "I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing," Cotto said. "I've never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me." Both fighters have agreed to Olympic-style drug testing for the 12-round fight handled by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions. The May 5 fight date was set before Mayweather pleaded guilty Dec. 21 before a Las Vegas judge to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges. The plea stemmed from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument in October 2010 with Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather's children. Prosecutors dropped felony and misdemeanor charges that could have gotten Mayweather 34 years in prison.

'The world's against us': Bears plenty motivated to prove preseason expectations wrong

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USA TODAY

'The world's against us': Bears plenty motivated to prove preseason expectations wrong

BOURBONNAIS — There are 13 different teams on the Bears’ schedule this season. But as the Bears started training camp ahead of the 2017 campaign, they saw many more opponents.

“The world’s against us,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said Thursday.

Trevathan was referring to the almost universal lack of faith among preseason prognosticators when it comes to the Bears’ chances to make some noise this season.

The last three seasons have been miserable by the franchise’s historical standards, with last year’s 3-13 mark the worst the team ever posted in a 16-game season. So those doubting some sort of sudden turnaround have something to back their opinions up.

But down in Bourbonnais, the Bears are using that lack of confidence as a motivating tool.

“You want that mentality. You want it to be just us against the world. That’s how it is. It’s us,” Trevathan said. “A lot of people are going to say what they want to say, critics, all those guys are going to say you were 3-13, all this and that. But we know we can be way better than that. And we showed glimpses of that. But now we gotta go ahead and show it the whole season.”

Self confidence is never in short order for athletes, especially at the dawn of a new season when every team has the same record and there’s no new data to separate contenders from pretenders. But it’s not just the Bears pumping themselves up. They have a few reasons to believe that a flip of last year’s script is possible.

Health is a big one. Trevathan is one of a lengthy list of Bears returning from injuries that cut their seasons short in 2016. Impact guys like Kyle Long, Kevin White and Leonard Floyd missed significant time last season due to injuries. Their healthy return would figure make a big difference for the Bears this season.

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New additions are expected to make a huge difference, as well. The Bears will have a new quarterback, with Mike Glennon the likely starter to begin the season and No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky waiting in the wings. Two new faces, Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen, are earning plenty of attention in the battle for the starting tight end job. And Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Quintin Demps are a trio of new starters in the secondary.

Those guys, guys who weren’t a part of last year’s loss-a-palooza, are bringing a fresh perspective to the team.

“Last year is last year,” said Demps, who’s been to six postseasons in his career, including each of the last two with the Houston Texans. “You’ve got to come in each and every year and prove yourself. That’s the goal right now. We’re coming in with a clean slate, 0-0. We’re just trying to get better right now, trying to build a good team.”

But most importantly, the Bears see this season as the culmination of the cultural changes Ryan Pace, John Fox & Co. have put in place over the past few years.

“That change has been starting from two years ago, it’s been starting. It just hasn’t rolled over to the games,” tight end Zach Miller said. “3-13 is not acceptable for us. We put in all the work, and you can feel the change coming. Every year you walk into camp, everybody’s against you, it’s time to turn the tables, surprise some people, so that’s kind of the goal in mind right now and see how we can do it.”

“I saw spurts of us last year just blooming and being that four-quarter team to win games, close games,” Trevathan said, talking about the team and his defense, specifically. “A lot of people are not seeing the work that we’re putting in, the communication, pieces that we’re putting in, putting in work, guys coming in like they’ve been here before. It’s like we’re clicking on all cylinders right now, and it feels good to be part of a defense like that. I feel like we’re going to be one of the greatest coming up. As long as we keep that full steam ahead, that attitude, that hungriness and that drive, we’re going to be great.”

Never underestimate the power of bulletin-board material, something that’s been around almost as long as football has. There's enough of it floating around this preseason for the Bears to fill a few bulletin boards. As they said, it’s up to them to prove they’re better than everyone thinks, better than last year’s 13-loss season indicated.

But while 2016 was short on wins, one thing 2017 will not be short on is motivation.

“A lot of people have got their backs turned to us. And we’re going to come out swinging. They’re gonna come over to our side,” Trevathan said. “But right now we’re taking care of our business. Our thing is to get better and get better every day, and that’s our goal.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs and Sox gear up for the decisive Game 4 in the Crosstown Cup

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs and Sox gear up for the decisive Game 4 in the Crosstown Cup

Sports Talk Live is on location at Guaranteed Rate Field to preview the decisive Game 4 of the Crosstown Cup. 

Kap is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic), David DeJesus and Scott Podsednik. 

Plus new Cubs outfielder Jon Jay talks about his first season with the Northsiders .

Listen here.