David Tua vs. Oleg Maskaev
Samoan heavyweight David (the Terminator) Tua, 24, has come a long way since his boyhood days when his sister would bloody his nose during a tussle. Half his 22 KOs ( Tua is 26-0) have come in the first round. During Tua's '92 pro debut he popped Ron Hume with a left hook so devastating that Hume fractured an ankle while falling. Ring analyst Gil Clancy calls the 5'10", 225-pound Tua "a poor man's Mike Tyson," and indeed, Tua was Evander Holyfield's top sparring partner before his November bout with Tyson. The Real Deal's report: "My sparring partner was whupping me up." Tua is well worth watching, even against a club-fighter-caliber pug like Maskaev.
? CBS, 5 PM
Bull Riders Only World Championship
The last time Terry Don West successfully mounted 1,800-pound Bodacious, in 1995, he wore a bulletproof vest and a catcher's mask. That's because no bull has rearranged so many faces since Sammy Gravano left the Mob. A year and a half ago Bodacious, who would later be banned from competition, headbutted rider Tuff Hedeman so severely that Hedeman lost his sense of smell and needed six titanium plates inserted into his face. As the highlight of tonight's competition, Bodacious will come out of retirement and West will again try to ride the animal that host Terry Bradshaw calls "the Michael Jordan of bulls."
?FOX, 9 PM
Indians at Angels
David Justice, hero of the 1995' World Series, you've just been traded to the Cleveland Indians. What are you going to do now? "I'm going to Disneyland!" Well, at least to Anaheim, where the theme park is located. Leftfielder Justice (page 82), who hit .321 with only six homers and 25 RBIs during an injury-plagued '96, makes his national television debut as an American Leaguer against a team that is rather cherubic: The outfield of the Angels—Garret Anderson, 24, Jim Edmonds, 26, and Tim Salmon, 28—is the youngest in the majors.
? ESPN, 8 PM
European Champions Cup Semifinal
Ajax of Amsterdam hosts Juventus of Turin in a rematch of last May's stirring final, won by the Italian League champs 4-2. The field at Amsterdam Arena, home to an Ajax team that has won three straight Dutch titles, has long been a figurative graveyard for visiting teams. Come September it will become a literal one for Ajax followers: The turf will be uprooted and replanted in a nearby cemetery, where for about $145 fans will be permitted to have their cremated remains sprinkled.
? ESPN2, 2:25 PM
Lakers at Jazz
For 11 years a Malone served a mailman at a bar called Cheers, where everybody knows your name. For 12 years a Mailman named Malone has earned cheers in a town where everybody knows his game. Karl Malone (left) is the Mailman and the norm for Utah: At week's end he had started in 456 consecutive games. Twenty-five-year-old Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal, on the other hand, had already missed 25 games this season because of injury, crippling L.A. in its quest for the Pacific Division lead. The Jazz might be missing in action too—as opposed to atop the Western Conference—were the Mailman that fragile a package.
?TBS, 8 PM
Golf spelled backward is flog, which we have no intention of doing to Greg Norman. Yes, at Augusta last year the Shark fell victim to the worst-ever final-round collapse (blowing a six-shot lead) in a major, but his skin is thick. Recently Norman (left) waxed philosophical about his titanic plunge, acknowledging the outpouring of posttournament sympathy and saying, "Winning the Masters would not have made half as much difference to my life as losing it." For his 18th attempt at acquiring a green blazer Norman has enlisted a new coach, David Leadbetter, who happens to also coach Nick Faldo, the man who overhauled Norman during that final round. Good idea: Faldo has three green jackets in his closet.
? USA, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, 4 PM CBS (HIGHLIGHTS), THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, 11:35 PM
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.