Poor ticket sales re­flect pub­lic’s grow­ing in­dif­fer­ence to hype

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LAS VE­GAS — There’s a rea­son tons of good seats re­main for what was sup­posed to be the year’s hottest ticket.

Ac­tu­ally, there are two rea­sons the hype bub­ble sur­round­ing the Aug 26 fight be­tween Floyd May­weather and Conor McGre­gor has been punc­tured, at least a bit.

In their quest to ex­tract ev­ery dol­lar pos­si­ble, pro­mot­ers wildly mis­cal­cu­lated their au­di­ence.

This isn’t box­ing, with an estab­lished wealthy fan base will­ing to pay thou­sands of dol­lars, as they did for May­weather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pac­quiao.

The young UFC fans driv­ing this pro­mo­tion for the most part don’t have 10 grand to blow on a pair of seats. They’ ll have to be con­tent to sit in front of the tele­vi­sion with a few friends, cheer­ing on McGre­gor from the couch in­stead of in­side the arena.

The other rea­son might be that May­weather ver­sus McGre­gor has been ex­posed as a con job. And, in a re­veal­ing twist, it was done by the fight­ers them­selves.

The drama has al­ready played out, al­most be­fore it re­ally got started. The act is al­ready be­come tired, as any­one who saw the me­dia tour or watched the first episode of All Ac­cess on Showtime can attest.

See Floyd play with his money. Watch Conor model fur coats and boast that his net worth will quadru­ple.

Lis­ten as they scream pro­fan­i­ties at each other, then try not to laugh at the in­side joke they share as they face off for pho­tog­ra­phers.

It’s all a big tease, a fan­ta­sy­land built on dreams and hopes. It’s as phony as the $100 mil­lion check that May­weather likes to wave around when the truth is he can’t even af­ford to pay his taxes with­out sell­ing some of his as­sets.

That’s enough to sell it to home view­ers at $99.95 apiece. It’s en­ter­tain­ment, much like Wrestle­ma­nia, and a good ex­cuse to get a few friends to­gether for a party.

But it’s a lit­tle tougher to jus­tify $15,000 (plus $1,292.81 in ser­vice fees) for two seats in Sec­tion 4, Row S of the T-Mo­bile arena that are so far from ring­side you’ ll need to spend an­other $100 for a pair of binoc­u­lars to see the ac­tion.

The bot­tom line is that


there’s noth­ing there. This is more re­al­ity show than fight, and the re­al­ity is that it’s such an aw­ful mis­match that Ne­vada box­ing reg­u­la­tors should be ashamed of them­selves for sanc­tion­ing it.

But May­weather is starved for cash, and doesn’t mind mak­ing a fool of him­self to re­plen­ish his bank ac­count. The boxer who likes to wear hats pro­claim­ing him­self “TBE’ ” (The Best Ever) is so des­per­ate to sell this fight that he’s pro­mot­ing it by sug­gest­ing he’s not that good any­more.

“That’s what makes this fight so en­ter­tain­ing,” May­weather said on the All Ac­cess show. “I’m not the May­weather of the past.”

He’s right, be­cause the May­weather of the past was at least mildly in­ter­est­ing. But the money act is as dated as the check from the Pac­quiao fight that May­weather seems to have trou­ble cash­ing.

Gone are the days when he used to toss around stacks of $100 bills, then head out in the Bu­gatti to the strip clubs to throw them at dancers. The Big Boy man­sion doesn’t seem so big any­more, and there are only so many times you can watch May­weather sit­ting in his pri­vate jet.

The same holds true for McGre­gor. His fur coats seem nice enough — though it’s hard to be sure the one he wore at the me­dia tour stop in New York was re­ally made of po­lar bear — and he’s thrown out a few gen­uinely funny lines.

But it mostly feels forced, like the UFC star has been re­hears­ing too long.

In­deed, by the time the tour hit New York the trash talk was stale. Aside from the F-bombs thrown out like red meat to the ea­ger crowd, there wasn’t any­thing about the fight that screamed “Buy me!”.

And to think there are three more All Ac­cess episodes re­main­ing. That’s about three too many for this one-trick pony.

Still, the bot­tom line is that McGre­gor’s true believ­ers re­ally be­lieve. They’re putting money on their man de­spite the fact he has no chance — other than some­thing truly bizarre hap­pen­ing — in­side the ring.

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