☕️ Good morning! Today's word count: 1,215 (<5 mins).
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The emergence of three undefeated heavyweight kings — Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua — has coincided with a revolution in the way boxing is broadcast in America.
Why it matters: The sport's top three heavyweights are now affiliated with three different platforms. And, with the traditional pay-per-view model under threat, all three are betting on slightly different business models to lead them into the future.
The backdrop: HBO left the boxing business last year, creating a gigantic void that has since been filled by Showtime (an incumbent that doubled down), ESPN and streaming startup DAZN.
🚨 Just in: Wilder announced last night that his next fight will be a rematch with Luis Ortiz, meaning his long-awaited title fight against Joshua won't happen until at least next year.
R.J. Hampton (front center) is headed to New Zealand. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images
Best news for New Zealand: Five-star recruit R.J. Hampton has decided to skip college and turn pro overseas. The plan is to spend one season playing for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL (Australia and New Zealand's NBA) before entering the 2020 NBA draft.
Best idea: The NBA is "studying fairly intensely" the idea of adding a midseason tournament where teams would either compete for an additional trophy or battle for a playoff spot, per NYT's Marc Stein.
Best comparison: "We've long joked that [Lakers GM] Rob Pelinka is the real-life version of Chris Traeger from 'Parks and Rec' because he looks like Rob Lowe … and has a complete library of personal improvement bestsellers. But actually, Pelinka is Michael Scott from 'The Office,'" writes SB Nation's Tom Ziller.
Mike Trout has surpassed 16 Hall of Famers in career wins above replacement (WAR) so far this season. Mike Trout is 27 years old.
Be smart: WAR aims to measure players' all-around contributions to their teams. If you doubt its worthiness, close your eyes and think of the best baseball players ever. Now look at the career WAR leaderboard. It's the same guys!
The bottom line: As my colleague Andrew Witherspoon pointed out while making the beautiful table you see above: "This is why baseball writers love Trout. He's endless WHAT!? content."
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — World champion freestyle biker Jack Field performed a backflip on the roof of Melbourne's Eureka Tower (975 feet tall), making it the highest backflip ever recorded on a motorcycle. Full video.
VIENNA, AUSTRIA — Thousands gathered in Vienna yesterday for Austrian F1 star Niki Lauda's funeral service. The three-time F1 champion, whose racing career was chronicled in the movie "Rush," died earlier this month at the age of 70.
CHICAGO — Justttttt a bit outside.
Remember Ronaldo? This is him now — and he might be in big trouble. Photo: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
🇪🇸 Match fixing scandal: Spanish police have arrested several players and officials on suspicion of forming a match-fixing ring in the country's top two divisions. One of clubs at the center of the scandal is La Liga's Real Valladolid, which is majority-owned by former Brazilian star Ronaldo.
📺 Today, 3pm ET: Chelsea vs. Arsenal in the Europa League final. Arsenal must win to return to the Champions League. Chelsea has already qualified and would love to deny their rival that opportunity. Match preview.
🤑 Solid investment: 11 months ago, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens was part of a group that bought 55% of Aston Villa for $40 million. Monday's 2-1 win over Derby County to earn a promotion to the Premier League was worth roughly $200 million alone.
Larry Bird beating Magic Johnson to the rim. Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images
39 years ago today, Larry Bird won Rookie of the Year over Magic Johnson after receiving a commanding 63 out of 66 total votes.
By the numbers: Bird won big, but the numbers suggest things should've been a bit tighter.
The big picture: Johnson got the last laugh in the end. The Lakers won the championship, while the Celtics lost to the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Kawhi Leonard is one of just three players in NBA history with at least 11 games of 30+ points in a single postseason prior to the NBA Finals.
Answer at the bottom.
Every sport has its so-called "unbreakable" records. In pool, it's 526 balls pocketed without a miss — a mark set by the great Willie Mosconi (above) in 1954.
Driving the news: Mosconi's record was blown out of the water on Monday by 46-year-old pro John Schmidt, who pocketed 626 straight balls over the course of four hours while playing straight pool in Monterey, Calif.
Between the lines: Mosconi's 526 happened under vastly different circumstances than Schmidt's 626.
The bottom line: The Billiard Congress of America (yup, real thing) normally only validates records that are set during tournament play, but Schmidt's was so impressive that they're expected to approve it after vetting the video.
Watch: Schmidt interview
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1. Who will win Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final?
2. Which team will score first?
3. How many combined goals will be scored?
🎰 Play now: Make your picks (cutoff time: 8pm ET)
Yesterday's results: 22% said the Indians (+1.5) would cover the spread against the Red Sox (they won 7-5) ... 62% said Bryce Harper would record an extra-base hit ... 9% said the Diamondbacks and Rockies would combine for eight runs.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Eight ball, corner pocket (misses badly)" Baker
Trivia answer: Michael Jordan (13 in 1989, 12 in 1990) and Hakeem Olajuwon (12 in 1995)