Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley: The MGM Grand and the 10 Best Boxing Venues
This week's fight will take place at possibly the premiere boxing venue around today. The MGM Grand has become the No. 1 venue for big fights but that hasn't always been the case.
Here's my take on the five best places to see a fight in the past as well as the five best places to see a bout today.
A total of 10 great places to watch the very best that boxing has to offer.
5. Past: The Showboat Casino, Las Vegas, NV
The Showboat was where ESPN made a name for itself in the early to mid-80s. Showing both AWA Wrestling and professional boxing from the Showboat's famed pavilion.
One of the first headliners that brought in good ratings for the Showboat cards was Manny Pacquiao's Hall of Fame trainer, the one and only Freddie Roach.
5. Present: The O2 Centre, London, England
I've only seen the O2 on TV but anytime you've got English fans drinking, singing and watching sport it's special.
The current number one venue in England and home to many top bouts.
4. Past: Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
Perhaps the most famous boxing match ever held at Yankee Stadium was on June 22, 1938, when Joe Lewis, an African-American, squared off against Schmeling, a German.
Adolf Hitler followed the rematch carefully, imploring Schmeling to defeat Louis, whom Hitler publicly berated. This left some with what they perceived as a moral predicament: root for the black fighter, or for the Nazi.
Schmeling had defeated Louis in 1936, but in defense of his title, Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round. This was one of eight championship fights the "Brown Bomber" fought at Yankee Stadium.
The great showdowns between Zale and Graziano took place there as well and Sugar Ray Robinson was also a regular at the venerable "House the Ruth Built."
4. Present: Cowboy Stadium, Dallas, TX
They've only had two fights at Cowboys Stadium. Pacquiao-Clottey and Pacquiao-Margarito. But what a great place for a fight.
Tremendous facility. Great set up. The big problem is finding fights that can fill up the stadium.
But with the growing Latino population throughout Texas it is very possible that the next great Mexican fighters will be able to showcase their skills here on a regular basis.
3. Past: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
The former heavyweight champ for Las Vegas boxing in the 80's. Several championship matches were held in Caesars Outdoor Arena.
Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran all headlined here, along with Larry Holmes.
Also, three bouts between Evander Holyfield andRiddick Bowe were contested here, one of which included the infamous "Fan Man" incident which saw a parachuter with a fan attached to his back parachute down to the ring in the middle of the fight.
Oscar de la Hoya also headlined several boxing cards here during the mid-to-late '90s.
3. Present: The Home Depot Center, Los Angeles, CA
Of all the current venues currently showing bouts in Southern California, the Home Depot Center is the best combination of atmosphere combined with excellent facilities and amenities.
Normally the home of LA's two soccer teams, the Galaxy and Chivas USA, the Home Depot Center is a top flight outdoor facility that works well for boxing.
2. Past: Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA
It stank of urine and ancient stale cigar smoke.
The bathrooms were horrible and the concessions nothing to brag about. But some of the greatest fighters of the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's performed at the Olympic.
The greatest era of all was from about 1970 to the early 80's when the likes of Alexis Arguello, Danny "Little Red" Lopez, Bobby Chacon and Salvador Sanchez fought at the Olympic regularly and often faced each other in classic bouts.
2. Present: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
The current king of Vegas boxing.
Great venue with the best fights. That combination makes the MGM Grand the No. 1 venue in the No. 1 boxing city.
1. Past and Present: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
The Garden is the No. 1 boxing venue hands down. It has history unlike any other venue.
It may not be the best facility around these days, but when someone says they fought at the Garden, everyone knows what they're talking about.
There have been four different version of the venerable site and they have had major fights at all four of them. They even had fights at the original Garden when boxing was still illegal, only they call the bouts "lectures" back then.
The most recent building was the site of one of the biggest fights of all time, Ali-Frazier I. It's true that Vegas has replaced New York as the center of the boxing world but anytime you get 20,000 New Yorkers together to watch a great fight it's magic. And they still pack them in at the Garden for top fights with New York faves like Miguel Cotto.
When that happens the ghosts of great fights past fill the arena along with the fans of today.
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