Las Vegas Sees Dollar Signs In Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao is the fight of the century.
Well, at least for Las Vegas casinos, restaurants, sports books and other businesses it’s one of the most anticipated matchups in the history of boxing.
And, Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Floyd Mayweather will take on Manny Pacquiao for the unified WBA, WBC, WBO and The Ring welterweight titles.
Some media reports say Las Vegas is sold out for the weekend. Jennifer Whitehair, director of content at Vegas.com, told KNPR's State of Nevada that between 150,000 and 200,000 people are expected to pour into Las Vegas for the fight.
“It’s almost kind of magical. There is this cultural zeitgeist. People want to be here to see this fight, you have to be here. It’s like you had to be at Woodstock,” Whitehair said.
Whitehair said even if people aren’t going to the Grand Garden Arena to see the fight, they’re going to parties at casinos or one of the 60 clubs in town.
However, even those parties will be pricey. Whitehair said bottle service for some start at $5,000, which is actually a lot cheaper than a ticket.
Ringside seats, if you can still get one, are going for $350,000 and row C seats are going for $150,000.
While the city will be packed this weekend, Whitehair said there are some deals left for hotel rooms and closed-circuit watching parties.
“It’s very, very popular but there is still availability and hotels are still working to bring people in,” she said.
So what impact will the fight of the century have on Las Vegas?
Whitehair said most fights generate under $20 million in non-gaming revenue, while something like the Electric Daisy Carnival brings in $330 million. Her best estimate puts the revenue somewhere between those two totals.
While the fight will be a huge money-making event for everyone from bussers to cab drivers to sports books, the real money is going to Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Steve Carp said both of the fighters are looking for more than just a payout, they’re chasing history.
“They’re fighting for their legacies,” Carp said.
He said Mayweather is fighting to move into the elite boxers who are considered the best of time like Mohammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis.
“For Pacquiao, he could claim to be the man who beat Mayweather. It would actually be the icing on the cake of his career,” Carp said.
So, Las Vegas will cash in and so will the fighters, but as for the actual action in the ring, there are some boxing writers who don’t think it will really amount to much.
“This might be the biggest con perpetrated on the American public since the movie ‘The Sting,’” Pedro Fernandez, the host of Ring Talk World Wide, said. “This could be the most boring fight in the history of boxing.”
Fernandez said Father Time is knocking on both Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s door, and in reality, they should have fought four or five years ago, but they wouldn’t have made the same amount of money back then.
“If this fight was at Caesars Palace, they would be calling it the ‘Geezers at Caesars.’ These guys are a combined age of 74 almost 75 years old,” Fernandez said.
While a lot of analysts believe Mayweather will force Pacquiao to chase him around the ring for 12 rounds, which he is known to do.
Fernandez believes if Mayweather actually stands and fights, he will win because he is faster, has better combinations and crisper punches.
“Manny Pacquaio has two chances in this fight; slim and none and you know where slim went, he left town,” Fernandez said.
Carp agrees that it is unlikely Pacquiao will actually win.
“I picked Mayweather six years ago, if they had fought, and I pick him again. He’ll win by decision,” he said.
As of Tuesday, William Hill's Mayweather versus Pacquiao Money Line odd were plus 175 for Pacquiao and minus 200 on Mayweather.
Most people agree that the fight is really a battle of a hero, the two-time Filipino congressman and devote Christian Manny Pacquiao, and a villain, convicted domestic abuser Floyd Mayweather, who is known to live an extravagant lifestyle.
“Manny Pacquaio, I wish him the best. I think it would be good for boxing if he won most people around the world like to see him win. He’s the good guy here,” Fernandez said. “There are a lot of people who would like to see Mayweather lose because he’s brash and he’s arrogant and he’s got all that money.”
Steve Carp, sports writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Jennifer Whitehair, director of content, Vegas.com; Pedro Fernandez, talk show host, Sports Byline USA