LAS VEGAS – Everyone is trapped. Not metaphorically, but legitimately in danger (okay, maybe not that much danger) of being crushed to death by hoards of people with the last sound heard a resounding CA-NE-LO chant in the serpentine halls of the MGM Grand Casino mocked by a smiling image of Iron Chef Morimoto. The problem, it seems, is stemming from a jam caused by a group of fans who have unfurled an enormous Mexican flag and won’t move, instead taking picture after picture as a yellow-clad security guard tries the best he can (the best he can isn’t good enough, contrary to anything Thom Yorke would tell you) to shuffle them along.
There are even more traffic jams up ahead due to a storm cloud of folks surrounding Shawn Porter, and another following Adrien Broner, a regular anthill making it impossible to get past a kiosk that is either offering an Oxygen Bar or frozen drinks that will require the use of an Oxygen Bar just a few hours later. Vegas is nothing if not a study in contrast.
It’s at this point that it sets in just how big this fight really is. Thousands of people spent their hard-earned time – and let’s face it, time is a lot more valuable than money as currency in 2017 – to watch some people step onto a scale, stare at each other for a few seconds, and listen to one of the most distinctly recognizable voices since the Moviefone Guy read off a list of sponsors and gloriously butcher the words “Thor: Ragnarok.”
While the bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin won’t save boxing, it’s an example of why so many people talk about “saving” boxing in the first place. The fight mattered. The fighters mattered. The weekend mattered.
“I am all for talking to those fans who were able to witness a boxing event for the very first time,” Golden Boy promotions head and boxing legend Oscar de la Hoya says the day before the fight. “We must talk to them. We must engage with them and embrace them. And this fight couldn’t have come at a better time. Perfect timing. Because people have an idea of what two boxers at the highest level can do. We’re witnessing it. Vegas is full of energy. Everybody traveling from all over the world to watch a fight is just amazing for boxing. I’m not worried that Canelo and GGG aren’t going to deliver because this fight is a can’t miss. This fight is made to be a classic. It’s made to be, I’m hoping, a trilogy. These are the types of fighters that can deliver a special fight.”