Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
Boxing: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz, Saturday at 6 p.m. PPV:
Whether or not you think Mayweather should be man enough to take on Manny Pacquiao instead, you’ve probably been watching HBO’s “24/7″ documentary/promo series to figure out who’s worth having a rooting interest for in this bout. Ortiz is defending his WBC welterweight title here, but Mayweather’s uncle and trainer, Roger, says he “wouldn’t know (Ortiz) from a bag of white rice.” Maybe he caught the segment that showed how Ortiz was abandoned his mother at age 7 and then by his father, leaving him and his little brother, Temo, to fend for themselves in their trailer in Garden City, Kan., with no food or electricity. Now they’re on your TV for $59.95 (or $69.95 if you’re into HD) at the MGM Grand in Vegas. In the co-feature, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will defend his WBC junior middleweight belt against Alfonso Gomez at Staples Center (starting at 5:30 p.m.).
Tennis: U.S. Open, men’s singles final: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
For the fourth straight year, it’s an unforced error that pushes the men’s final on a Monday at the Open because of scheduling snafus caused by wicked wet weather. Tournament director Jim Curley said the schedule was changed “in an effort to be fair to the players and our ticketholders.” This matchup, a rematch of the Wimbledon final, should be worth the wait. Just ask Roger Federer.
NFL: New England at Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN; Oakland at Denver, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:
Somehow, it all circles back to Reggie Bush, the defrocked Saint who plans to be a big fish again in a school of Dolphins after the free-agent shark frenzy last summer. Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald asked the former USC
Heisman Trophy winning tailback about his knowledge of Dolphins’ history. “I don’t know a whole lot,” Bush admited. “You know the obvious history of the organization: Dan Marino, and I forget what year it was that they went undefeated.” No worries. The 1972 team has no fear that this squad will even come close to its 17-0 season. Starting with tonight. Meanwhile, do the Patriots know there’s a two Gronkowski/one Gostkowski limit on all NFL rosters?
MLB: Angels at Oakland, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
The last regular-season roadie goes 10 games and 11 days through three cities and two countries. But it starts in Oakland, where they’d best have the A-game, and runs Tuesday (7:05, FSW) and Wednesday (12:35 p.m., FSW).
MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
The Dodgers’ last homestand is a 11-game, 12-day experience that includes more fireworks, blanket giveaways, Hello Kitty crown promotions, USC- and UCLA-style L.A. caps … pretty much whatever’s left over the junk drawer. If only the baseball gods allowed for a Clayton Kershaw-Ian Kennedy matchup on either Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9) or Wednesday (7:30 p.m., Prime). Kennedy, the former USC standout who is 10-1 in his last 11 starts after the All-Star break, 9-0 overall vs. the NL West games and 3-0 against the Dodgers, will go after his 20th victory in the middle game. Kershaw seeks his 19th win Wednesday against 16-game winner Daniel Hudson.
Series: “Numbers Never Lie,” ESPN2, 12:30 p.m.; “Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 1 p.m.:
No lie, a questionable move by the network. These new series in the new ESPN2 lineup will include Charissa Thompson in a Michele Beadle-kind of role looking at numbers that matter. Sounds good on paper. Then it’s Flounder from “Animal House” hoping he learned enough from his sub-roles at “Pardon The Interruption.” The changes also mean “Jim Rome Is Burning” comes over from ESPN and fills the 1:30 p.m. slot.
Soccer: Galaxy at Monarcas Morelia, CONCACAF Champions League, 5 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:
The Galaxy’s opponent sounds like a goalie that Chivas USA once tried out but couldn’t sign. Whatever happens here in central Mexico, these two will meet again at Home Depot Center at the end of the month.
MLB: Cleveland at Texas, 4 p.m., ESPN; N.Y. Yankees at Seattle, 7:10 p.m., ESPN:
Games the Angels will pay attention to, after their afternoon dance with Oakland is finished and they’re on a plane flying East.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
The four-game set ends Sunday (1:10 p.m., Prime) with Fan Appreciation Day, which could draw as much as 40,000. That’s for the whole series, which includes Friday and Saturday (both 7:10 p.m., Prime). Have a ball.
Golf: PGA BMW Championships, first round, noon, Golf Channel:
Webb Simpson has been the web sensation since winning the Deutsche Bank Championship on a second playoff hole for his second title in three weeks, so now it’s down to the final 70 in the FedEx Cup point standings at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill. This is the final event before the last 30 standing play in the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Golf Channel has the second round (noon), while NBC has the final two rounds (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Channel 4).
MLB: Angels at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m., FSW:
Who from the AL West plans trips to Baltimore this late in the year unless there’s some kind of blue-shell Maryland crab fest? They were just there in July and won two out of three. This continues Saturday (4:05 p.m., Ch. 13) and Sunday (10:35 a.m., FSW).
College football: UCLA vs. Texas, Rose Bowl, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Go ahead, Longhorn fan: Remind us what’s “big” and “12” about the Big 12 these days.
College football: USC vs. Syracuse, Coliseum, 5 p.m., FX:
No excuses for this one being close. The Orangemen barely beat Rhode Island last week.
College football: Auburn at Clemson, 9 a.m., Channel 7; Michigan State at Notre Dame, 12:30 a.m., Channel 4; Tennessee at Florida, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2; Washington at Nebraska, 12:30 p.m., ESPN; Ohio State at Miami, 4:30 p.m., ESPN; Oklahoma at Florida State, 5 p.m., Channel 7; Utah at BYU, 6:15 p.m., ESPN2; Stanford at Arizona, 7:45 p.m., ESPN:
The Buckeyes and Hurricane exchange NCAA crib sheets, while the Utes and Cougars fight for the rivalry’s Diet Pepsi Trophy.
MLS: Galaxy vs. Vancouver, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW (delayed at 10:30 p.m.)
Landon Donovan scored twice in a 4-0 win over the Whitecaps at the end of July, then went out and got white caps for his teeth.
IRL: Japan 300, 8:30 p.m., Versus:
The IndyCar road course series finishes in Motegi, Japan with Will Power holding a 14-point lead over Dario Franchitti in the points race for the road course championship. Power’s wins in Sonoma and Baltimore puts him just five points back of Franchitti in the overall standings with three races left in the 2011 series, ending in Las Vegas on Oct. 16.
NFL: Philadelphia at Atlanta, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
Sure, they remember Michael Vick in the ATL. But they’re not crying about having Matt Ryan. This one goes up against the Primetime Emmy Awards show in L.A.
NFL: San Diego at New England, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
Bill Belichick will not be miked. Would you now like him to be?
NASCAR: Geico 400 at Chicago, 11 a.m., ESPN:
Even a caveman can figure this one out: The 10-race Chase for the Cup title begins with races on nine of the next 10 Sundays up against the NFL (the other is on a Saturday night on Oct. 15).