A full weekend of sports ahead: Four major sports, horse races and a fight

There are many weekends in sports that some say are the best. Championship Saturday, Super Bowl Sunday and the start of March Madness are just a few that are constantly thrown around as the best weekend in sports. However, the excitement those events provide pale in comparison to the sporting events this weekend have to offer, which features all four major sports in action as well as the most prestigious horse racing event in the country and what some are calling the fight of the century.

Friday

 NFL Draft, Rounds 2-3, ESPN 7 p.m.

Following the first round Thursday night, the NFL Draft resumes with the second and third rounds on Day 2 of the three-day draft. An interesting name to watch for is Shane Ray, a former Missouri defensive end and 2014 SEC defensive player of the year. Projected by many as a top-10 pick just one week ago, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. now projects Ray to fall to the second round after being issued a citation for marijuana possession early Monday morning.

NHL Second Round, NBC Sports, 7 p.m.

Friday marks the start of NHL second round for four teams, as the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens at 7 p.m. and the Chicago Blackhawks welcome the Minnesota Wild at 9:30 p.m. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos is one of the most dynamic scorers in all of hockey, but the Canadiens have one the league’s best goaltenders in Carey Price. Chicago’s Patrick Kane brings energy each and every shift. And his talent and creativity make the Blackhawks one of the most exciting teams to watch.

Red Sox vs. Yankees, NESN/YES, 7:10 p.m.

After taking two of three from Yankees on the road in mid-April, the Red Sox welcome the Yankees to Fenway for the first time this season in one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez currently is one home run short of tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list, and could very well hit No. 660 at Fenway this weekend given the Red Sox’ league-worst 5.75 ERA amongst starting pitchers.

Nets vs. Hawks, ESPN, 8 p.m.

In the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets return home to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Down 3-2 in the series, the Nets must win in order to force game seven, which will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. if necessary.

Saturday

 NFL Draft, Rounds 4-7, ESPN, noon

Starting at noon, the NFL Draft will conclude with rounds 4-7 on ESPN. Former UConn wide receiver Geremy Davis could be taken within these four rounds and looks to be the second Husky taken in the draft after Byron Jones.

Rangers vs. Capitals, NBC, 12:30 p.m.

The Rangers and Capitals square off for Game 2 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The two teams have met in the postseason four times in the last five years, and both teams enter the second round firing on all cylinders. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was solid in the series win against the Islanders, and Alexander Ovechkin serves as an always dangerous offensive threat for the Capitals.

Red Sox vs. Yankees, NESN/YES, 1:35 p.m.

The Sox and Yankees return to Fenway for the second game of the series. Although the Red Sox enter the series with a 12-10 record, Boston boasts one of the best offenses and baseball and one of the game’s hottest hitters in Hanley Ramirez. The shortstop turned leftfielder leads the team with 10 home runs and has helped create a powerful middle of the order with David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval.

Kentucky Derby, NBC Sports, 6:24 p.m.

Twenty thoroughbred horses will line up to have the chance to win the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby and the first leg of the Triple Crown. American Pharaoh is the favorite to win the event at 5-2, while Dortmund, who was sired by former Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has 3-1 odds.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, PPV, 11:30 p.m.

Dubbed as the “fight of the century,” Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will finally go up against one another in one of the most anticpated fights of all time. Mayweather boasts a 47-0 career record, while Pacquiao is 57-5-2.

Sunday

 Grizzlies vs. Warriors, ABC, 3:30 p.m.

The second round of the Western Conference playoffs gets underway as the Golden State Warriors take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Steph Curry looks to lead Golden State past an ailing Grizzlies team that will be without point guard Mike Conley, who is out with facial fractures.

NHL Second Round, NBC Sports/CNBC, 6 p.m.

Sunday’s NHL action features a full slate of second round games. The Lightning will take on the Canadiens at 6 p.m. in Game 2 of the series, and the Wild will square off against the Blackhawks immediately after. At 10 p.m. on CNBC, the Calgary Flames take on the Anaheim Ducks in the second game of their series. The Flames boast former Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau, who has become a key asset to the Flames this season and an extremely exciting player to watch.

 Red Sox vs. Yankees, ESPN, 8 p.m.

The weekend concludes with the Red Sox and Yankees wrapping their three-game series with the Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN. On top of the normal tension between these two bitter rivals, the winner of this series will also likely sit atop the American League East. While it’s still early in the season, both teams have their eye on the top spot in the division to help continue their resurgence this season after both teams posted down years last year.

A weekend this jam-packed with quality sporting events doesn’t come around too often. After a few down weeks since Super Bowl Sunday, this weekend features the best of what American sports have to offer and helps describe how great sports can truly be.

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