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Boxing has always been a big draw in Las Vegas, and Saturday’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton has proven to be among the biggest. The contest, held at the MGM Grand Casino, ended in a technical knockout of Hatton by Mayweather in the tenth round; but a much larger victory was tallied by the casinos of Las Vegas.
Over 20,000 Britons are estimated to have swamped Vegas to cheer on Manchester-based Hatton. The 16,000-seat MGM Garden Arena was sold out long ago, with about half the seats going to English visitors. An additional 18,000 seats were sold in Vegas to watch the fight on closed-circuit television.
Star power, another longtime Vegas tradition, was evident. Among the attendees were Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, now both big Vegas investors with their Planet Hollywood Casino, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, rapper Jay Z, actor Will Farrell, soccer icon David Beckham, singer Gwen Stephani, and an assortment of boxing legends, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Angelo Dundee, and Lennox Lewis.
Worldwide gambling on the fight is estimated to have been more than $100 million. Receipts from the live gate will top $10 million, while pay-per-view sales through HBO are expected to be in the range of $70 million.
Hatton went off at +230 ($100 bet pays $230), and Mayweather was a -270 favorite ($270 bet pays $100). The line fluctuated during the week, and the influx of English fans is seen by analysts as keeping Mayweather from being a much heavier favorite.
Now that Mayweather is firmly in place as boxing’s ticket to big fights, the next step may be a rematch against the Golden Boy, Oscar de la Hoya. Although Mayweather beat de la Hoya in their first match, the fight went the distance and de la Hoya impressed many observers. With a huge Hispanic fan base, de la Hoya could be the perfect foil for Mayweather, and once again cause money to flood Las Vegas.