Thursday 22 March 2018

Celebs pay whopping €35,000 for seats at 'Fight of Century'

Beyonce Knowles and Jay Z attend the welterweight unification championship bout on May 2, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada (Al Bello/Getty)
Beyonce Knowles and Jay Z attend the welterweight unification championship bout on May 2, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada (Al Bello/Getty)
Claire Danes at the fight
Steffi Graf and husband Andre Agassi at the fight
Clint Eastwood ringside at the big fight
Actress Drew Barrymore poses ringside at "Mayweather VS Pacquiao"

Tim Dahlberg

With ringside seats selling for up to €35,000, no wonder the front rows at the Fight of the Century was crammed with wealthy celebrities.

But singer Beyonce nearly stole the show in Las Vegas, as her ultra-low-cut red pants suit caught everybody's eye as she arrived with husband Jay-Z to watch the Mayweather-Pacquaio bout in Las Vegas.

Five years in the making, the welterweight fight with a purse of €270m unfolded before a glittering crowd of stars including Clint Eastwood, Nikki Minaj, Sean 'Puffy' Combs, Michael Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Donald Trump.

But the worldwide TV audience and the crowd in the MGM Grand Arena on the Las Vegas Strip had to wait after the fight was delayed by about 30 minutes because cable and satellite systems were having trouble keeping up with the pay-per-view demand.

Both fighters were guaranteed staggering paydays, with winner Floyd Mayweather pocketing €160m while Manny Pacquiao collected €110m.

The live take alone was more than €62m, and the bout was expected to easily smash the pay-per-view record of 2.48 million buys, set in 2007 when Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya.

But while the frenzy over the fight pushed up tickets to three to four times their retail value the week of the fight, prices dropped dramatically as the fight neared and some tickets were being resold for less than face value.

The pressure never got to Mayweather Jr, even if the richest fight ever wasn't the best.

Using his reach and his jab on Saturday night, Mayweather frustrated Manny Pacquiao, piling up enough points to win a unanimous decision. Mayweather remained unbeaten in 48 fights, cementing his legacy as the best of his generation.

After the fight, it was disclosed that Pacquiao injured his right shoulder in training and that Nevada boxing commissioners denied his request to take an anti-inflammatory shot in his dressing room before the fight.

Boxing fans called for the fight to be made five years ago, when both men were in their undisputed prime. But squabbles over promoters, drug testing and a variety of other issues sidelined it until Pacquiao beat Chris Algieri in November and immediately launched a campaign to get the fight made.

When they finally got it, it wasn't the fight it might have been five years ago. But it was enough to settle the question that boxing fans had asked for years - who would win the big welterweight match-up of the best fighters of their time.

"He's a very awkward fighter, so I had to take my time and watch him close," Mayweather said afterwards.

"You're tough," he said to Pacquiao, hugging him in the ring.

It was vintage Mayweather, even if it didn't please the crowd of 16,507. They cheered every time Pacquiao threw a punch, hoping that he would land a big shot and become the first fighter to beat Mayweather.

The hype around the event was soured when two female journalists claimed they had been banned from attending after reporting on Mayweather's long history of domestic violence. CNN's Rachel Nichols and ESPN's Michelle Beadle said on Twitter that their press accrediation had been refused.

However, Mayweather's management claimed there simply had been a mix-up.

Irish Independent

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