Thursday, December 3, 2009

MGM angles to host possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

While Bob Arum talks to Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines about accepting a deal to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., the stage is being set for another battle, one to make sure the fight is in Las Vegas, be it March 13 or May 1.

The MGM Grand Garden, which was thought to be considered too small at 16,200 seats, now might be the favorite to host the fight because the hotel has the capacity to bring in another 15,000 through closed-circuit telecast seats in its convention center and ballrooms.

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Arum has indicated he would like to see the fight in Las Vegas, where he and Mayweather live, and where his Top Rank promotional company is headquartered.

The MGM also has the power of its other properties -- including the $8.5 billion CityCenter, which will be fully operational by the time the fight is held -- to sell another 20,000 to 25,000 closed-circuit seats.

A proposed 30,000-seat temporary stadium on the old Frontier site on the Las Vegas Strip remains a possibility. Political consultant and former Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Sig Rogich said Wednesday that, while the project remains in its exploratory stage, the fight could take place on that site.

"We've had positive feedback from the promoters and the owners of the property," Rogich said, referring to the Elad Group. "But to get it done, it would take 60 to 90 days to build, so we'd have to make a decision in the next few weeks."

The Dallas Cowboys' 80,000 seat stadium and the 72,968-seat Louisiana Superdome remain in play. Executives from Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, which is representing Mayweather in negotiations, are expected to visit both facilities in the next two weeks.

Still, as Rogich points out, neither city has the infrastructure to match Las Vegas.

"They don't have 150,000 hotel rooms," he said. "And they don't have Las Vegas' tradition for hosting championship fights."

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