Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
�Viva los boxeodores! When Oscar De La Hoya, who's responsible for two of the three losses these super lightweights and compatriots have suffered, abdicated his WBC throne last April, a dream title bout was arranged for Plaza De Toros in Mexico City. The 35-year-old Chavez (below at left), whose fists of stone have made him a national legend, boasts a record of 100-2-1 with 83 KOs. In the absence of a Salma Hayek film festival, expect a sellout of 52,000 to witness the 27-year-old Gonzalez (42-1), who's also a big puncher (32 KOs), attempt to win a belt and the hearts of a nation.
?PPV ($29.95-$39.95), 9 PM
ABL Finals, Game 1
Answer: 14-92. Question: Putting Columbus's point total second, what's the average score of a Quest game? We exaggerate, but only slightly. The defending champions lost their 1996-97 ABL most valuable player, Nikki McCray—the Columbus media guide cryptically reports she "signed with another pro league"—but little else. The Quest finished with a 36-8 record while pounding opponents by an average of 12.5 points, then swept the San Jose Lasers in last weekend's playoff semifinals. Columbus's scoring leader, center Katie Smith, averaged only 17.4 points, but the Quest led the league in fewest points allowed (67.5 average) and most turnovers forced (977). Hoping to sink Columbus in the best-of-five finals is forward Yolanda Griffith of the Long Beach Stingers, who swept the Portland Power in the semifinals. Griffith led the ABL in steals (138) and was second in rebounding (11.6 average).
?FOX SPORTS NET, 6:30 PM
Penguins at Flyers
Pittsburgh right wing Jaromir Jagr (right) is a latter-day Phileas Fogg. He recently went around the world in 18 days. Between the Penguins' 2-2 tie at Ottawa on Feb. 7 and 6-2 win at Montreal on Feb. 25, Jagr flew across the Pacific to Japan, where he helped the Czech Republic win an Olympic gold medal, and then pushed farther westward to Prague to celebrate with president Vaclav Havel and more man 100,000 other countrymen before returning to Norm America. Tonight Jagr will be racking up frequent Flyer miles, this being Pittsburgh's second game of a two-night home-and-home series with Philadelphia. Having scored 71 points in 56 games, Jagr was the NHL's leading scorer at week's end, and history suggests that Philadelphia won't be able to keep the well-traveled Czech in check: In 36 career games against the Flyers, Jagr had 45 points. Meanwhile, Flyers forwards John LeClair ( USA) and Eric Lindros ( Canada), whose Olympic squads missed out on the medals in Nagano, were, respectively, tied for fourth and sixth in the league in scoring, having amassed 65 and 64 points.
? ESPN, 8 PM
Late in the 1972 season Roberto Clemente presciently answered a question concerning the timing of his 3,000th hit. "God tells you how long you're going to be here," said the Pittsburgh Pirates rightfielder, who in the final at bat of his life would slashed a double for No. 3,000, "so you never know what's going to happen tomorrow." Three months later, on New Year's Eve Day, the Great Roberto, age 38, perished in a plane crash on his way to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In this worthy warts-and-all, hour-long retrospective hosted by Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue), Clemente (at left in the 1971 World Series) is remembered for his idiosyncrasies (being headstrong and hypochondriacal) and his ideals. "Everybody looked rumpled next to Roberto Clemente," says biographer Jim O'Brien. "You couldn't take your eyes off him."
?FOX SPORTS NET, 9 PM
Tragedy tomorrow, Carmody tonight? Funny things could happen on the way to the Alamo-dome (site of the Final Four), especially during the tournament's 64-team opening round, telecast all afternoon and evening today and tomorrow. Something familiar: North Carolina, making its 24th consecutive appearance. Something peculiar: Princeton, under second-year coach Bill Carmody, playing the role of overdog. Old situations: defending champ Arizona, exhibiting its familiarity with every big-dance step. New complications: UCLA, missing center Jelani McCoy (who quit the Bruins last month).
? CBS, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, NOON, 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 10 PM