Last weekend we witnessed something important and impressive on planet pugilistica. A milestone in the sport for Jab Hook, as he watched the best female professional boxing match he has ever seen. Despite being less than competitive, the matchup was compelling and the action was exciting.
This high-stakes desert oasis was pulsating with anticipation in the days before Floyd Mayweather Jr. Everybody, it seems, wanted in on the action. Couples went nose-to-nose for faux pre-fight stare-down photos.
People leaned in for close shots of the boxing floor.
A security guard was on hand in case someone tried to climb into the ring. Still, visitors were shocked at the cost of actually witnessing the fight. New Jersey resident Kevin Coulbourne admitted that this would be the closest he would get to the real event.
But fight tickets? Those were out of his league. Along with the excitement came tension. On Tuesday, the fighters threw pep rallies at different hotels — each attended by thousands of fans — events that displayed their contrasting styles.
The Philippines congressman, who may one day run for president, raised his hands to the crowd like a candidate on the stump. Advertisement Only tickets in the 16,seat arena were available to the public; the rest were mostly in the hands of the fighters and MGM for friends, family, cronies, celebrities, high-rollers and the like.
Pay-per-view profits could also set a record.
It all presented an opportunity for local businesses to up the ante on visitors. Hotel room rates skyrocketed — tripling even at the less-coveted properties.
Security officials plan crowd control measures to avoid any repeat of violence. At the NBA All-Star game here, when hundreds of fans were arrested after a handful of shootings. A prize fight last May saw 60 people injured in a stampede triggered by a loud noise mistaken for gunfire.