Jump­ing through hoops

Bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onship game stands in way of highly an­tic­i­pated May­weather-McGregor match

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS SCOREBOARD -

Be­fore get­ting to Conor McGregor, Floyd May­weather has to deal with Ice Cube.

May­weather is sup­posed to fight McGregor on Aug. 26 at the T-Mo­bile Arena in Las Ve­gas in what could be the rich­est box­ing match ever. Prob­lem is, Cube al­ready has the venue booked for the cham­pi­onship game of his 3-on-3 bas­ket­ball league.

The rap­per-ac­tor said Thurs­day the sides are in dis­cus­sions and the Big3 is open to mov­ing. He be­lieves an agree­ment is near.

“But un­til then, we’re still in the T-Mo­bile Arena,” Cube said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call. “So I think we’re close, but un­til we get over the fin­ish line, we’re just close.”

Opened in 2016, T-Mo­bile Arena is the big­gest venue in Las Ve­gas, list­ing a ca­pac­ity of 20,000 for box­ing. The backup venue, the MGM Grand Gar­den Arena, would hold about 3,000 fewer seats.

“I’m pretty sure the fight­ers want that money, the pro­mot­ers of the fight, so that be­ing said we just got to be treated right,” Cube said.

The un­de­feated May­weather will be end­ing his re­tire­ment to face McGregor, the pop­u­lar mixed mar­tial arts star, and would be fight­ing at T-Mo­bile for the first time. UFC pres­i­dent Dana White has said the match would be there.

But T-Mo­bile’s web­site still lists the Big3 cham­pi­onship game on Aug. 26 on its cal­en­dar of events, with no men­tion of May­weather-McGregor. While Cube said arena of­fi­cials could ul­ti­mately do what they wanted, they couldn’t do so with­out break­ing a con­tract with his league.

“We will have to come to an agree­ment and we will be work­ing to do so, but we do have the arena un­der con­tract,” Big3 CEO Amy Trask said.

If the Big3 moves, it would go to the MGM Grand Gar­den Arena. That game is sched­uled to be­gin in the af­ter­noon and the fight is at night, and Big3 ex­ec­u­tives think the in­creased at­ten­tion and all the celebri­ties the pay-per-view at­trac­tion will bring to the Strip will ben­e­fit the league of for­mer NBA play­ers as it wraps up its in­au­gu­ral sea­son.

“So it’s turned out to be an in­cred­i­bly good thing and there’s a lot of people from both sides that are friends and we re­ally are just try­ing to work out what’s best for both par­ties,” Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz said. “It’s not a big deal be­cause we have two amaz­ing are­nas.”

AP PHOTO

In this Jan. 11 photo, en­ter­tainer Ice Cube, right, an­nounces the launch of the Big3 pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball league as for­mer NBA player and play­ers union deputy Roger Ma­son looks on in New York.

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