Home Boxing News What Happens In Vegas Stays in Vegas! But does it need to?

What Happens In Vegas Stays in Vegas! But does it need to?

For those that are looking for an article about hookers, drugs and any other debauchery this is not the article for you.

I am a 20 Year Navy veteran that loves boxing.  I have watched boxing events all over the world via AFN (Armed Forces Network), thank you promoters for allowing this to happen.  My schedule had never allowed me to attend a live boxing match in Vegas (Boxing Capital of the World). In 2017, I retired from the military and now work for a business in Massachusetts that gives me the freedom to schedule my vacation or getaways whenever I want to.  I know a lot of people are wondering isn’t that the way all business do their vacations? Well let me digress a moment and explain that in the military your vacation is based on when you are not doing training,  being deployed or sent on an Individual Augmentation assignment for 395 days (ask my wife she will tell you the exact day, hours, minutes, seconds), so vacation is when it is convenient for the military.  I am not complaining about my career because I loved being in the Navy. I wanted people to understand how special it is to have the freedom to take a vacation when you want.   Now back to the story, when Wilder vs Fury II was announced I told my wife I wanted to go.  She said “GO” but that she couldn’t go, so she told me to invite my dad.  I turned to my best friend to see if he wanted to go.  After much deliberation my Dad said he would go.

Five days prior to leaving for Vegas my Dad called and said, who are we going to see fight again? I said you haven’t seen the commercials for two big guys beating each other, He said, “No”, I told him Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury are boxing.  On Thursday morning I woke up and drove to the airport excited and enthusiastic on seeing the fight. But I was also skeptical. Why skeptical you ask? In the last 10-15 years I have heard that boxing is a dying sport and the fan base is no longer there due to the bad judges decisions, UFC, and crazy tickets prices (I paid $500 a piece for 200 level seats at MGM Grand Arena, couldn’t afford the over $2000 for floor seats).

I arrived in Vegas on Thursday morning.  I was hoping that the arrival would be like arriving to the Super Bowl and Mike Tyson or George Foreman welcoming me to Vegas for the fight of the year.  That didn’t happen!! There was no hype videos or posters for the fight at the airport I couldn’t even tell there was a fight this weekend. My doubts started to increase that boxing was dead.  I took a cab to the MGM Grand (hotel I chose for my stay). As we finally drove down the strip I saw my first indication that yes there was a fight this weekend. We arrived at the hotel I paid my $19 (thank you Vegas for the flat rates on cabs). As I walked into the hotel I got excited because as I passed the front doors there was a boxing ring with the MGM lion in the center and the championship belt.   I walked around the hotel and saw the ESPN production ring and got to meet Andre Ward. I was excited but where were all the other fans?

Friday morning was weigh-in day. It was supposed to start at 12:30 and it was first come first serve and only 5000 seats were available. There were no fans to be found on Thursday I don’t think we will have a problem getting in. We got in line at 10:15 and stood waiting.  As I stood in line I saw the line and energy growing. I met a group of young guys that came from England, another couple from California celebrating a birthday, and another group of older gentlemen from England. In the group of older men there was a big fellow by the name of Martin. Martin was a very nice guy that was a Fury fan but was not able to go to fight. He stood in line with us for over three hours to just see the weigh-ins.  We talked about boxing and the upcoming match but he taught me what is known as the Gipsy culture. The fans were coming to see Wilder vs Fury but the truth was that everyone was here to see Wilder vs “THE GIPSY KING”!!  My synopsis of the Gipsy culture is they are one big FAMILY, and when one is in a battle they are all are in the battle. After a few hours the line began to move fast to the entrance the wave of people were not going to stop.  There was a problem, dad was not next to me. He was a little behind me looking at the growing line. As the wave of people started to move I tried to go back and get him but I would have been trampled. I looked back and did not see dad.  I was worried that he was still in the same spot or had been trampled. Then suddenly I heard “ I GOT HIM!! Like Hodor in Game of Thrones (if you don’t know what I am talking about Google it and watch all 8 season) Martin came out of the crowd with my dad!! I was so relieved and again we continued to wait. After 4 hours they opened the arena, the security guards, x-ray machines were almost trampled. We got our seats and again waited two and half hours until the weigh-ins started. Time kept ticking and the crowd kept growing. There were applauses and boxer sightings. The undercard weigh-ins began and one by one the fighters were weighed in for the fights. The most interesting weigh-in was the 6 ft 5 inch fighter. All I kept wondering was how was his Australian opponent every going to hit this guys head. There was no true drama in the under cards. Then it was time for the main event weigh-in.  More Fury fans kept trying to get as close as possible. They don’t pay the arena security people enough to deal with their stress.  As both boxers came onstage the place was going crazy. The arena only had 5000 people there and it finally began meeting my expectations of a fight week. As both fighters finished weighing-in I wondered how is Wilder going to deal with the 40 pound difference, my answer was going to come in 24 hrs.

Saturday was fight night. We relaxed and decided to go into the arena at 4pm, just in time to watch the Pay per View (PPV ) matches.  We got to the arena and just like you see on TV  no one comes for the early matches.  However we did get to enjoy the short lines for drinks, pictures and the bathrooms. Fight after fight was completed and the crowd continued to grow,  Again we saw the 6 ft 5 in fighter (his name was Sebastian Fundora) fight and  just like I thought there was no way his opponent would reach him. Sebastian won by unanimous decision. I’m intrigued on this young fighters future. The first championship fight was won by Navarrete and then we saw the Gallo Negro (this can be translated in a few ways) get knocked out. I’ll admit I missed the knockout because I had to go to the restroom  just a few too many drinks. Now it was time for the Main Event.

The main event started with multiple hype videos and a celebration of champions (I really wanted Tyson to bite Evander’s ear when he hugged him). The crowd got louder and rowdier throughout. The anthems were sung and people (a Scottish fan) actually booed during both of them. It was now time for the boxers to enter the ring. Fury entered having three different songs played. First song was  Sweet Caroline (this song transcends multiply sporting events) but for British fans this means Fury is getting ready to enter. Second song was Freed from Desire which British fans change to Fury’s on Fire ( I searched “Fury on Fire“ a hundred times until I found the right lyrics). I couldn’t wait for the last song because I knew it would drive the fans into a frenzy. Was it going to be a rap song , R&B song , AC /DC ,  Metallica. Guns and Roses , the anticipation was too much.  Then the song began and it was….. Crazy by Patsy Cline!!! The song played and Fury came in on his thrown. Each time I hear this song I will remember this moment, it was incredible. It was now time for Wilder to enter the ring.  Wilder’s outfit was a futuristic Black Knight (not Batman) but very forgettable until the demon eyes appeared.  Wonder if he will let me borrow it for next Halloween. The fight was now ready to get started!!

Now I can give you a recap of every round but you can watch that later and I thought I would be spoiler but by now I know the whole world knows the result . What I will tell you is that this place was insane, the British fans did not sit the whole fight. Each time Fury hit Wilder the place erupted.  As the, fight continued the excitement kept growing until the final eruption in the 7th round. I pretty sure I saw grown men crying, people yelling it was the best day of their life and strangers hugging strangers (I hugged a few of my new British acquaintances). I realized that BOXING is not dead, sports unites us all, and Deyonte Wilder could not overcome the over 40 pound weight difference.

If you are like me and have waited for years to live out those bucket list items due to scheduling and money. Find a way!!!  For me this will not be my last fight, I want to be on the floor for my next fight, so if anyone had a few thousand dollars or tickets I can have let me know.

To Martin thank you for holding the door for my Dad and for the taxi driver who took me to the airport on Sunday my story doesn’t have Hookers and Drugs but will be the Story that will leave Vegas and I will continue telling!!