By Arun Patel, Monday, 28th August 2017
Well after a long and hectic weekend I have to say money spent on the fight was well worth it! however next time I do a trip like this, I might take a few days off after to fully recover!
So lets see I arrived in Vegas around 15:00 on Friday and whilst the journey to the Hotel was quick. Checking in wasn’t! A massive queue meant a 30 minute wait to get checked in. The hotels as you might imagine are massive.
Anyway onto task one for the fight. Getting the ticket!
Firstly, there was no option for e-tickets and for those who have travelled from outside the US you had to pick up tickets. the location to pick them up from was the MGM which luckily for me wasnt to far from my hotel. Again a massive queue to get the tickets, and another 30 minute waiting in line before I got mine. They made you sign for the ticket as proof you picked it up, not surprising with the cost.
For those who do not know these tickets are also meant to be collectibles so I wasn’t expecting the normal paper tickets you get for events. I wasn’t disappointed. They basically contain a Hologram image of Mayweather and McGregor.
For those how haven’t seen one, here are the pics. As you see tilt it and the image changes.
And to show the value of the tickets, walking out of the arena after the fight, there were people offering to buy the tickets! I should have asked how much they were offering but didn’t entertain the idea. However when I had a quick look on eBay this morning they were appearing for $100! I think I will keep mine, who knows what these will be worth in the future!
Anyway I wont bore anyone with my antics in Vegas, no-one really cares about that. What matters is the boxing so onto the event and the T-Mobile Arena. Its located to the south of the strip, next to the New York New York complex.
Doors opened at 14:00 hours and I made sure to get there early mainly as I wanted to see the Savannah Marshall fight and she would be first up. The venue itself with 20,000 capacity is similar to the O2 in London. The banks are quite steep so even from the rafters the view is quite good, and that is what my $3500 ticket got me.
For those wondering why the T-Mobile arena and not the MGM, probably capacity. Ultimately both are owned by the same company so no real difference to them. Its why you picked up the ticket from the MGM.
Venue is well air-conditioned! Considering it was 45 degrees outdoor wearing a t-shirt and shorts in the venue you quickly felt a bit cold! (You live and learn!). The obligatory bars, fast food stands dotted around the arena also.
Staff were all very friendly and welcoming. Very different to the O2. Only negative for me was no free wifi. Or non that I could see!
So the fights themselves, I wont bore anyone with detailed descriptions of them all, it would be dull as most of them where fairly tedious affairs. On the undercard there were a succession of points decisions until the first of the 3 big fights. However I went early because I wanted to see Savannah Marshall and happily she won. With her fight at just before 15:00 she fought to a largely empty arena but there were a few of us there and by the sounds of it fellow Brits so she had support! Typically as with all new boxers her opponent was one she would be expected to win. And she did, a comfortable points victory. She looked comfortable with a solid defence, but we shall see how she progresses.
Then followed points decision after points decision. It looked as though the Mayweather fight wouldn’t start until after 10:00 at the rate it was going! In all honesty none of those fights had much action.
Then came the first of the big fights Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack and the previous bouts were quickly forgotten!. Obviously being a Brit I had to support Cleverly whilst there. But my wallet isnt ruled by such loyalties and I had Jack as part of an accumulator (with Davis, Mayweather and Cutto) which give a potential evens return on my £200 bet.
Cleverly vs Jack
From the first round, it was clear neither boxer was going for points. Both went looking for each other and you got a sense it would be action packed. The first round was fairly even. Then in the second it all changed. Badou showed that he has stepped up the weight and lost none of his speed. He was constantly quicker then Cleverly and he got in several good shorts and started to get on top. By the end of the third you could see Cleverly was beaten and it was a question of just how long it would go on for. He managed to hold on to in the 4th round but just. When the ref stopped it in the 5th it was no surprise. As I said he was far quicker and had the power. After the fight he called out Adonis Stevenson. Said he was prepared to go to Canada for the fight. I doubt Stevenson will be in a rush to take up the offer! Nor do I think Ward will be in a rush to fight Jack. Hopefully the fights do happen as I believe they will be great encounters. Especially Jack vs Ward could be a classic, both are powerful and quick men, who like to go forward and be aggressive.
Davis Vs Fonseca
So down to 2 fights left on the night. Gervonta Davis followed by Mayweather. However I got a nice surprise before those fights. Seems as though it wasn’t a sell out, and a nice lady walked around the section I was sitting asking if we wanted to move to better seats and swapping out our $3500 tickets for $5,000 tickets! Being a gentleman how could I say no to the lady!
Granted I still wasn’t on the floor but I was closer and the view was better so no complaints from me!
So onto the Gervonta Davis vs Fonseca fight. I will be honest I didn’t know much about Fonseca. With odds of 1/33 on Davis, I only added him to my accumulator as it looked like a certain thing and bumped up the return very marginally. However turns out prior to this fight he had an unbeaten record. 19 wins out of 20 with a draw. So clearly some ability.
As for the fight itself. Well if someone told me there would be a comical fight with a potential disqualification I would have said it would be the Mayweather fight. I was wrong. This was the fight that had all the controversy.
Like the previous bout, this was full of action with Fonseca clearly not there to lie down. He come forward and was aggressive. Davis was full of showboating throughout. Constantly standing with his hands behind his back with complete arrogance. The fight was dirty too. At one point I think in the 4th, one of the boxers literally lifted up the other and carried him across the ring in something that belonged more in MMA then in the boxing! Maybe there was confusion in seeing McGregor on the bill!
The fight itself was very even. Fonseca gave as good as he got. Then came the eighth round and the knockdown. For anyone who hasn’t seen it you need to! Gervonta hit Fonseca with a few heavy blows and clearly he was shaking. Then Gervonta clearly punched to the back of Fonseca’s head. Whilst Fonseca was going down, Gervonta decided to help him on the way with a little push to the back. Then whilst Fonseca was down clearly hurt from the punch to the back of the head, Gervonta seemed to kneel down besides him in what I could only see as a taunting gesture. It wasn’t to see if he was ok!
Then the shock on Gervonta’s face at the whole arena booing him! What did he expect. Now credit due to the person interviewing him after. He asked about the punch and was it illegal. First Gervonta said he didn’t think so, so they played it again and he got asked again by the interviewer what did he think of it now he had re-seen it. Gervonta tried to make light of it saying he was on top etc. He did however apologize for missing the weight and said it wouldn’t happen again but not if it was as he would move up weights. The crowd didn’t care one bit, he was booed throughout the interview. Not sure what else he could expect!
Thankfully Fonseca was fine after a few minutes, but clearly not happy with the punch and said he wanted a rematch. He deserves one. he more then stood toe to toe with Davis, and whilst he was starting to weaken he more then held his own. I can see him coming back stronger and challenging for titles in the future.
As for Davis, he may well be Mayweathers protégé and seen as the next big thing in boxing. However he clearly hasn’t learnt how not to get hit the way Mayweather does. He got hit way to often and against someone with more power wouldn’t have lasted. Also for me his showboating and arrogance was riling. He seems to have brought into the hype about himself. We shall see what happens in time, but I don’t think he will remain unbeaten for much longer. If he steps up weights he will struggle.
The main event
So that was the undercard over with. My accumulator looking good so far with 2 out of 4 (did not know Cutto had already won). And onto the main event Mayweather vs McGregor!
Well firstly the belt. A nice piece of jewelry. Managed to get a couple of pics! Thank god they let me get my camera in! Luckily there was not a massive wait and around 21:00 they got ready for the boxers to come out. It was a bit disappointing. I remember the days of flashy entrances by boxers. The ring walk these days is fairly tame in comparison, just the usual boxers flanked by their entourage. Both anthems were well observed and respected. The hoards in the ring cleared and we were ready for action.
Now I am sure everyone has seen the fight, we have all seen the judges scorecards to the point when it was stopped so not sure what more I can add to that. From what I saw McGregor had the better of the first 3 rounds, and after that Mayweather slowly got on top.
McGregor landed early blows but Mayweather seemed unaffected. He took the punches and clearly had a game plan. He rarely threw in the first round and only slightly opened up after that. then from the 4th he started landing punches on a constant basis wearing down McGregor and by the 7th you could see McGregor was sagging and struggling. You could see the effort McGregor made in the first few rounds clearly took its toll and Mayweather took full advantage of a tired McGregor and simply outclassed him.
If the Ref handn’t stopped the fight it wouldn’t have gone on much longer. McGregor was on his last legs no matter what he might say. It was the right decision.
Full credit to McGregor he gave it one hell of a go, however the differences between boxing and MMA clearly told. McGregor punches did not have the power of Mayweather. He expended a lot more energy throwing them then Mayweather with his punches. Technique clearly matters. Malignaggi talked about McGregor rabbit punching and Mayweather said the same and it was true. After the first few rounds it was more like he was pawing at Mayweather then throwing punches. I do not doubt McGregor’s ability and if he had boxed a lot more before this fight his technique would have been better and then I think Mayweather might have wobbled a lot more. but it wasn’t to be.
Mayweather got the 50-0 record by doing what he does best. He may not have been the most exciting of boxers with stunning knockouts and an aggressive style, but he deserves to be talked about as one of the greatest boxers ever. Technically he has been brilliant but also he clearly goes into fights with a well thought-out plan. He works out his opponents weaknesses and uses them to win. He deserves credit for what he has done in the ring, and I was grateful for the opportunity to see him live and break Rocky Marciano’s record.
So was it worth spending £5,000 to go Vegas for a weekend (and only 6 hours sleep over a 80 hour period) to watch a boxing match? Absolutely! No regrets. Had a fantastic time and great memories. It’s a pity there can only be one fight of the century! So guess I should save until the next one!