De La Hoya vs. Mayweather: The Experience

mayweather13.05.07 - By John Howard: There's nothing like the electricity in Vegas in the days prior to a big fight. I've been here many times over the past twenty-five years and nothing has compared to the buildup of De La Hoya vs. Mayweather. The last star-studded event that came close was Tyson's comeback fight against the infamous "Hurricane" Peter McNeeley in August of '95. At that time, I paid $600 for my seat in section L205, row E, seat 16, at the MGM Grand Garden. With the fight lasting 89 seconds, that's $6.74 per second of excitement!.

A bit on the high side of the excitement scale. At that fight, I saw Shaq, Donald Trump and his wife at the time Marla Maples, Francis Ford Coppola, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and my own personal favorite Pam Anderson. Pam was on her honeymoon with Tommy Lee and was wearing (actually was busting out of) that yellow, form fitting skirt that looked like something she borrowed from her little sister. Her much "littler" sister. I apologize, but I've since forgotten what Tommy was wearing, but if my recollection serves me correctly, I'm thinking he had a few tattoos.

The MGM Hotel & Casino was something else. The pool area was fantastic and full of college age coeds, college dropouts, models, showgirls, and from the looks of it, a hooker or two. When I was here in '95 they had a European pool (that means topless), but have since taken it out when they expanded the hotel. For this writer who has his roots in the south and has spent many times in rivers and lakes, it was tough to draw myself away from this heavenly paradise long enough to cover the weigh-in and watch two guys strip down and step on a scale to weigh themselves. Real tough. On that mid Friday afternoon, I would have much rather sat around the pool drinking Bloody Marys, especially since my covering this event was pretty much a "Labor of Love" and thus far has not quite paid off. But hey, duty calls and I'm committed to my editor at East Side Boxing. That is for the time being until the big money starts pouring in. Is anyone from Ring magazine reading this? Translation: I'm available now!

Last Saturday, fight night, I was on my way to the sports book to check the odds and I ran smack dab into Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns. We shook hands and I told him what a big fan I am of his and thanks for all the memories. Bert Randolph Sugar was set up signing copies of his book from 2003 entitled Bert Sugar on Boxing. Somehow, while speaking with Bert, I ended up without my copy of the book, but with a copy signed by Bert with the words inscribed: To Mario, Best, Bert R. Sugar, May 5, 2007. Mario, if you are reading this and want your book back, please contact my editor and I'll be glad to send it to you.

Some things about this town I don't like. Everyone seems to have their hand out. Vegas is capitalism at its best and its worst. When I arrived at the sports book, a cocktail waitress was prancing by announcing "cocktails?" I asked for a Heineken and she asked to see my betting slip. I told her I had just arrived and hadn't made a wager. She replied that you need a minimum of $200 wagered on a horse or baseball game, not the fight, in order to receive a free drink. I offered her Bert's book as full payment ($16.95 retail), but she looked at me as if I were an idiot.

Enough has been written on the fight so I won't discuss it except to say I had Mayweather winning by the score of 116-112. I really didn't see De La Hoya doing as some claimed he did. He made the fight, but in my opinion, he didn't do nearly enough to win. He followed Mayweather around, but not effectively enough to win. But hey, both of these guys won the lottery when the fight was signed. Mayweather played the part of the bad guy perfectly and put non-boxing fans into the seats. Hell, 2.15 million people forked out $59.95 for the PPV. Neither can make that kind of money with any other fighters so look for a rematch.

I was still on a high from the Vegas trip until Monday night when I received the news about Diego Corrales. Then it didn't matter who won or lost the fight. I couldn't have cared less. There's more important things in life. A young man's life is cut short at 29 years old. A senseless tragedy. A 1910 quote from Wilson Mizner, the manager of Stanley Ketchel, immediately came to mind. When he was told the 24 year old Ketchel had been murdered, Mizner said it wasn't possible. "Start counting over the dear boy," he said. "He'll get up."

Article posted on 14.05.2007

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