Speculation surrounding major boxing events often is as reliable as former heavyweight flop Duane Bobick's chin. But for those interested in the latest chatter for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather mega-bout being planned for Nov. 13, here's some fairly solid fodder to ponder:
• Steve Wynn's name is becoming more prominent on the list of famous figures who might be involved in the promotion and staging of this fight. In tracking the Las Vegas supply-demand environment as discussion of the fight percolates, no room reservations are being taken at Wynn and Encore for the dates of Nov. 12-13, leading to speculation (that word again) that Wynn and Encore might well be the host resort for the fight — which of course is still unsigned. MGM Resorts International properties also have planned for a massive influx of tourists that weekend, but has merely increased its room rates, not listed rooms as totally sold out.
• If Wynn (as a person and as a corporation) is indeed involved, of course, that dismisses MGM Resorts arenas MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay as live fight venues. The Thomas & Mack Center would be the most likely site if Wynn were to lend his company's name and resources behind the fight. As T&M and Sam Boyd Stadium Director Daren Libonati said Friday afternoon, "We are in the mix. We're prepared to handle the fight. We've always had a good relationship with Bob (Arum, head of Top Rank Inc.) and Steve Wynn, and however this unfolds we will embrace all of them."
• Oh, and don't rule out MGM Resorts yet, even with Wynn's apparent interest. The company still is said to be eager to bring the bout to MGM Grand, or even Mandalay Bay Events Center. Pacquiao is said to favor the amenities at Mandalay Bay and would prefer fighting there over the MGM Grand. For one, he finds the chapel there to his liking, as he regularly prays and prefers privacy for that. His fans flock to the hotel, too. But they flock everywhere to see Pacquiao.
• Remember the temporary facility across the Strip from Wynn and Encore on the site of the imploded Frontier? The 30,000-seat, outdoor venue that was the proposed site of Pacquiao-Mayweather in 2009, before talks unwound over a drug-testing dispute between the two camps? There is a rumor coming out of Wynn-Encore that the venue could well be constructed for this fight with at least partial backing from Wynn.
It would cost, at the very least, $4 million just to build the framework for this venue. Whether this is a huge sum depends on who's cutting the check. Wynn just finished off a $69 million project — Encore Beach Club, a grand venue for knockouts of an different variety.
Wall Street Journal focuses on 'Screen vs. Strip'
More from the arena front: In a story published today the Wall Street Journal has focused on the competition for major events between Cowboys Stadium and Las Vegas — casting it as The Screen vs. The Strip. A triumvrate of noteworthy segments of that piece, written by WSJ's Jordan Hirsch:
• "Though Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman confidently told me that Cowboys Stadium is 'nothing to worry about,' he later declared that he is 'no great believer in competition' — a sure sign of insecurity from a man whose city's reputation as a gambling Mecca and fight capital of the world is predicated on it."
• "(Cowboys owner Jerry) Jones and his son Stephen, chief operating officer of the Cowboys, are usually careful to argue that they mean no harm to Vegas. 'We're interested in accommodation,' the younger Mr. Jones told me. 'We don't think [Dallas and Las Vegas] are mutually exclusive.' But when I put the question to him directly, he admitted that he's 'interested in bringing events to Dallas permanently.' Dallas Convention Center Chairman Phillip Jones (no relation) unabashedly agreed, expressing his hope that 'Dallas can take all these events from Vegas.'"
• "Robin Leach, longtime Vegas resident and host of the '90s show 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,' cast the disparity in characteristically colorful terms. 'You may well have a larger stadium in Dallas thanks to Jerry, because everything is bigger in Texas,' he said to me. 'But Dallas rolls up the carpet and sidewalk at one in the morning, and we party 'till breakfast, when it's time for a Bloody Mary.'"
Cheadle: No more surfing "Ocean"
Don Cheadle, hosting his charity poker tournament "Ante Up for Africa" today at the Rio, said a reunion of the cast of the "Ocean's Eleven" film franchise is pretty unlikely.
"Everybody except for George (Clooney) has kids now," he said. "We've all kind of moved on. It would be hard to do that again. I think maybe 'Sons of Ocean' would work, though (laughs)."
Cheadle is also proud that "Iron Man 2" has, as expected, become a summer hit.
"In fact, I think it's one of the only hits of the summer, of you look at something that was supposed to be big that turned out big," said Cheadle, who plays Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the film. "It was a lot of fun to see, and it was a lot of fun to make."
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