🎉 Happy Friday! You made it.
Today's word count: 1,377 words (5 minutes).
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.
The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Wilder and Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.
Fight preview: Wilder will be vying to break Muhammad Ali's record of 10 consecutive heavyweight title defenses, the odds are about even and the experts are split. If there was ever a time to spend $8o on a boxing match, this is it.
By the numbers: Wilder has the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight champion at 95.3% (41-43), and Fury is the only fighter he's never knocked out.
The big picture: With global streaming service DAZN disrupting boxing's pay-per-view model by making fights free for paid subscribers ($19.99/month), a lot is riding on how many people buy Wilder-Fury II, which is being co-produced by ESPN (Fury) and Fox (Wilder).
"If a fight this appetizing fails to generate an impressive number of buys, that could signal the beginning of the end of the 60-year relationship between boxing and pay-per-view."— Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker
🇺🇸 "The Bronze Bomber" ... ESPN's Mark Kriegel writes about Wilder's late introduction to boxing and the return of the great American heavyweight...
With 11:29 to play last night, Eastern Illinois trailed Murray State 50-23. By the time the horn sounded, they'd completed a remarkable comeback to win 63-60 — on a buzzer-beater, no less.
More college hoops:
Been thinking a lot about this chart, which my colleague Sara Fischer published in her weekly Axios Media Trends newsletter. Anybody else miss reading the sports page over breakfast? Nothing beats the feeling of a newspaper.
The big picture: While some traditional ad businesses, like TV and radio, have plateaued in the digital era, print ad revenue has plummeted.
In honor of Spring Training (games start today), I invite you to join me on a journey back in time.
1927 ... "The Babe Selects His Weapon" was the original caption of this photo showing Babe Ruth choosing a bat during Yankees spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida.
1939 ... This is called a "Ziel" device, which was apparently used to test — and improve — a pitcher's accuracy and command.
1958 ... Original caption: "Chicago Cubs manager Bob Scheffing watches Ernie Banks (left) and Tony Taylor exercise at spring training in Arizona."
1959 ... Dodgers players line up to receive their pay from the paymaster, which came in the form of dollar bills. The average MLB salary that season: $16,997.
Jessica Diggins (L) and Kikkan Randall. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Two years ago today, Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first Americans to win gold in cross country skiing (team sprint).
🎥 Watch: The announcers went bananas as Diggins pulled off a heroic come-from-behind win in the final seconds. "Here comes Diggins!! Here comes Diggins!!" Best moment of the 2018 Winter Games, in my opinion.
The world's best women downhill skiers will compete at the Alpine Ski World Cup this weekend in Crans-Montana, Switzerland — a small town in the Swiss Alps where longtime James Bond star Roger Moore lived until his death in 2017.
Trae Young scored 50 points in the Hawks' win over the Heat last night, becoming the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to cross that threshold.
Answer at the bottom.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
"Breaking the rules isn't a new phenomenon in sports," writes The Ringer's Michael Baumann, "but the level at which it's happening — both in cadence and severity — is alarming and reflective of society."
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Watching 'Miracle' tonight" Baker
Trivia answer: LeBron James (3x), Devin Booker, Brandon Jennings
In yesterday's trivia question, I mistakenly said the letters "P" and "S" are next to each other in the alphabet. If you don't hear from me next week, it's because I have re-enrolled in kindergarten.