Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz
HBO 10:30 PM Originally scheduled for Beijing (The Brawl at the
Wall), the rubber match between Holyfield and WBA champion Ruiz
(37-4, 27 KOs) will take place at the Bingo Hall of the Foxwoods
Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. (down the road from the
29-year-old Ruiz's hometown of Chelsea, Mass.). That setting
should suit Holyfield (37-5-1, 25 KOs) perfectly: The graying,
39-year-old Real Deal's involvement in boxing could soon be
limited to watching his old fights on ESPN Classic.
December 17, 2001
Dolphins at 49ers
CBS 4 PM Miami's last victory in this sporadic series (4-4
alltime) came on Nov. 6, 1983, the year Return of the Jedi was
thrilling 13-year-olds like Jeff Garcia of Gilroy, Calif. Today
the kid from Gilroy is San Francisco's Jedi passing master, with
a 90.6 quarterback rating (third in the NFC), and a leading
candidate for the NFL's MVP award. Against the Dolphins, Garcia
will test a Miami pass defense that the Force has been with all
Memphis at Temple
ESPN2 9 PM If Tigers freshman guard Dajuan Wagner puts up 100
points (as he did last season in one high school game) against
the Owls' famed matchup zone, Temple coach John Chaney may be
looking daggers at John Calipari yet again. (The two have made
up since 1994, when an irate Chaney threatened to "kill"
Calipari, who was coaching UMass at the time, over Calipari's
zeal in working the refs.) Tonight's game at Temple's Liacouras
Center marks a homecoming for the wondrous Wagner (23.3 points
per game at week's end), who hails from nearby Camden, N.J.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Steelers at Ravens
ESPN 8:30 PM Baltimore (8-4) loves nothing more than to hop on
the Bus. Quoth the Raven Ray Lewis on facing Pittsburgh running
back Jerome (the Bus) Bettis: "I would hope they would run him.
We get up for those kinds of games." The evidence backs up
Lewis, the Super Bowl champions' All-Pro linebacker: The Ravens
haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 49 games, though Bettis
(above, 36) came close with 91 yards in Baltimore's 13-10 win at
Heinz Field on Nov. 4. If the injured hip that derailed Bettis
last week against the Jets isn't hampering him, we could be
saying nevermore to the Ravens' streak. What would also help the
Steelers (10-2) would be for kicker Kris Brown's wheels not to
fall off again. Brown missed four of five field goal attempts in
last month's defeat, including a potential game-tying boot from
35 yards with 14 seconds left.
It was sobering enough that last Saturday's Heisman Award
ceremony on ESPN had to be held at the Marriott Marquis because
of damage inflicted on Sept. 11 to the trophy's home, the
Downtown Athletic Club, but did the presentation need to be so
somber? We half expected an Itzhak Perlman concert to break out.
This is college football. How about some cheerleaders or a
band?...Muhammad Ali, Dale Earnhardt and Magic Johnson will
receive SI Honors on Sports Illustrated's Night of Champions
(Saturday, NBC, 8 p.m.), during which the 2001 Sportsmen of the
Year will receive their amphorae.