• Steve Bunce

All eyes on Vegas for the Floyd show

Steve Bunce January 17, 2012
Will Floyd v Pacquiao happen?

Floyd Mayweather Jnr v Manny Pacquiao
It seems Floyd v Pacquiao has moved a step closer. They both say they want to fight each other, we all know what city the fight will take place in, Las Vegas, and they've agreed in theory the purse split is 50/50. They've had secret negotiations over the years to work out the drug testing, and apparently that's all sorted. But now there's one big problem - we know the month, it's May, we just don't know the date. Mayweather wants it to be on May 5 at the MGM, a place where he has fought an awful lot and the hotel-casino resort that he's done a lot of business with in the past.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, has decided, quite sensibly, to go out and build a temporary 42,000-seater stadium. That may sound ridiculous but lots of the great fights of the 80s and 90s were in temporary built stadiums, outside the back of hotels. However, Bob Arum says the fight can't take place until the end of May, because he is saying 'why fight at the beginning of May and miss out on extra revenue?' The MGM holds 17,000 fans, and the difference in revenue between 17,000 and 42,000 is $40 million. For the sake of three weeks it's a no-brainer.

Floyd's saying no he can't do it then. May 5 is traditionally a very big day in Vegas, plus you have to factor in that with his jail sentence getting deferred he is now free to fight in May in a bout that could generate over $100 million for the Las Vegas community (i.e. the coffers of a casino or two). It could be against Pacquiao, though I don't think it will be. I think Vegas will get a double whammy: it might get both Pacquiao and Mayweather. We miss out.

Lamont Peterson v Amir Khan
Peterson will look at every option and he'll take the one with the biggest amount of cash on offer. If that's Khan for the WBA and IBF titles he'll take the fight; if it's someone else then it will be only for the IBF version because he'll be stripped by the WBA if he doesn't go ahead and fight Khan within a stipulated time scale, which I believe is 180 days. It's Khan or nobody for the WBA strap but Peterson will fight whoever generates the most amount of money. Just because Peterson's been ordered by the WBA to a rematch with Khan doesn't mean that's what will happen. Peterson can walk away comfortably.

I think that Khan's reputation has been hurt by the complaining. However, the mere presence of 'mystery man' Mustafa Ameen was a distraction; his presence was a pain. If he didn't affect the scoring, he created confusion and Khan quite rightly has been granted a rematch, although I would have liked to have seen him do a deal for one before they got to Washington DC. A deal back in December would have stopped all the conspiracy and corruption talk. I'm sick of it.

George Groves v Kenny Anderson
Groves against Anderson in March should be a terrific domestic fight. Last time out Anderson dropped him, had him hurt, before Groves came back well to stop him - although Anderson will claim the stoppage was premature. The rematch has got a bit of colour to it, a bit of anger, a bit of a back story; It's what we like. Anderson quite rightly has been given a second bite; this is not a backward step for Groves. He was seconds from being stopped; he showed plenty of heart and bottle to come back but it was all over for a moment. Anderson took the first fight at short notice, whereas this time he will prepare thoroughly. This fight could capture the public's imagination, we're guaranteed a fight! Groves also wants it.

Matt Macklin v Sergio Martinez
This is a massive bout. In theory, Macklin must be running out of chances but if he goes in there and gives Martinez a really good fight - which I think he will do because he's tactically a really smart fighter - I don't think it's necessarily the end. If he goes over to New York and is outclassed and maybe stopped easily then he'll be in trouble when it comes to the future. When people say 'this is his last chance' they really mean this is his last chance to make proper money. I think Macklin can win - Martinez is a terrific fighter but he's been made to look good in some of his fights. He's not a fighter that I'd be running from. There are plenty of fighters out there, in different weights, I wouldn't put fighters in with and Martinez isn't one of them. Macklin can push him real close, real close.

Steve Bunce is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption show. Click here for more details

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.