The talk on the putting greens and driving ranges on the four golf courses of the 52nd annual Bob Hope Classic wasn’t completely all about. Many of the personalities took the time to talk some boxing.
Making their way around the four famous golf courses, all located in the city of La Quinta near Palm Springs, included current major league pitcher Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays and current NFL standouts Ryan Longwell of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson.
The field also featured a slew of retired superstars. Among them were NFL Greats Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Willie Gault, Sterling Sharpe and Frank Wycheck; NBA legends Julius Erving and George Gervin; NHL Hall of famer Grant Fuhr, Olympian Scott Hamilton, and future hall of fame pitcher Greg Maddux.
The entertainment business was represented as well. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Alice Cooper and actor Kurt Russell were among the many participants.
Gault, a member of the 1985 super bowl champion Chicago Bears, and Sharpe, who, along with Brett Favre became a prolific QB-WR duo, obviously have a vested interest in the results of Sunday’s NFC and AFC championship games.
Gault cited the Bear’s defense and ground game as the key’s to Chicago’s chances.
“They are great teams and the two games are really two great games,” Gault said. “I think Chicago’s ground game is the key.”
A few years ago Gault threw his hat in the boxing ring as a promoter and manager. He managed and trained former heavyweight contender Lamon Brewster for his first 11 bouts.
Gault, like most fight fans, would love to see Floyd Mayweather in the ring with Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s hard for me to go against Mayweatrher,” Gault said. “It’s hard to say anyone can beat Mayweather. If anyone can, it’s Pacquiao. But If I had to pick, I say it will be Mayweather.”
That is IF the mega fight does happen.
“Sometimes things don’t happen the way they should,” Gault said. “If it is meant to be…it will happen. It will be a great fight if it happens.”
Gault, who was making his Hope debut, believes a non-fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, however, won’t ruin their careers.
“I think they have done so much already that nothing can ruin their legacy,” Gault said. “If either of them doesn’t fight again, they’ve had amazing careers.”
Sharpe said prior to last week’s playoff between Green Bay and Atlanta that the winner would go to the Super Bowl and wins it.
And he is sticking to that.
“I think the Packers got hot at the right time,” Sharpe said. “But the Bears will be tough to beat at home.”
Sharpe compares the possible matchup between Mayweather and Pacquiao as a once in a lifetime event.
“That is the last of a dying breed, when the best face the best,” Sharpe said. “You don’t get the two best teams in basketball; you don’t get that in baseball and not in football. You just don’t get to see the best of the best go at it.”
“That’s the attraction,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe, who is making his fifth appearance at the Hope, didn’t know who to pick in the fight.
“It’s hard to pick,” he said. “But it will definitely be an outstanding match.”
Julius “Dr. J” Erving was focused on his golf on Thursday.
“I left a lot of balls out there and I’m disappointed in that,” Erving said. “I wanted to help my team out more than I did.”
Erving’s foursome had just completed a round of golf that lingered for over five hours, which is the norm for the celebrity golf event.
“Some of my old habits creeped back in,” Erving said. “Based on my fatigue, I have to be fresh tomorrow. I have to be the Fresh Prince. Maybe I will be the Fresh King.”
As for boxing, Dr. J. wants to see Mayweather face Pacquiao.
“I probably want to see that fight,” he said. “That’ll be a good fight.”
Kurt Russell, star of such movie classics as Escape from New York and Tombstone, is making his third Hope appearance. Last year Russell’s foursome made a strong run at the amateur team title.
“If we leave the golf course 27 under, we will be fine,” Russell said after Thursday’s round. “That last hole dropped us to 27 under, so we will be in good shape.”
Russell is waiting for studio executives to give a movie based on the 1993 raid in Waco.
“Movies go through a thorough and long process of improvement to get the green light,” Russell said. “We are waiting on that. It’s a good movie.”
Russell made his point quick when it came down to Mayweather versus Pacquiao.
“When it happens it will be a great fight.”
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