After Thursday was the most chilled day since I arrived (hence nothing posted – only the Undercard final press conference happening @ MGM, strictly for media), things came to life again on Friday…
I set an early alarm for the 8th Annual ‘Titans of the Trade’ (TOT) breakfast @ MGM Grand, and this was followed by the Mayweather McGregor weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena. TOT is an annual event hosted by Mayweather Promotions, honouring and celebrating trailblazers in the worlds of boxing, sports and entertainment. It was a 7.30am start and the location for the 100+ event was Tom Collichio’s Craftsteak at the MGM Grand, a venue which Mayweather Promotions have used for the event for the last couple of years.
I had a truly great time, and it will perhaps be the most impactful part of my Las Vegas trip, when all’s said and done. This year’s honours list was all-female, and some inspiring women took to the stage to receive the awards, sharing their stories and insights – it was all very real and authentic. The Mayweather Promotions team and volunteers did a fantastic job when it came to setting up the event, being hospitable and making the effort to mingle – again, in a really kind and authentic way.
The vibe and audience was great. I sat on a table with a mother and daughter visiting from Oregon (husband/dad was in town with a ticket to the fight), and 2 of us even won raffle prizes. I was touched by all of the stories, particuarly those of Tally (Talia) Sagginario, Jennifer Burbank, Sparkle Lee, Simone Decoud and Heather Hardy (yep, that’s almost the full list).
Floyd Mayweather doesn’t talk about this sort of work, and this stuff doesn’t get airtime. Indeed, one of the Mayweather Promo team said – “He doesn’t do this to get talked about.” There is certainly a lot more to “Money” May than meets the eye, that’s for sure; and that’s coming from someone who has taken the time to explore who Floyd really is behind what we see in front of the camera’s / around his fights.
A key member of the Mayweather Promotions family is Nicole Craig, who took to the stage, whilst CEO Leonard Ellerbe swung by too, right before the biggest weigh-in of his career, let alone boxing history. As Nicole Craig stated, traditionally the TOT event coincides with a fight. A real credit to the whole Mayweather Promo team for making it happen, and without a hitch.
Let’s just say my eyes have been further opened with respect to Floyd Mayweather and the Mayweather Promotions family – the work they are doing, and how they conduct themselves, from Floyd right the way through to the volunteers, is really impressive and humbling.
I then had a couple of hours before the T-Mobile Arena weigh-in, and I took the opportunity to but a $165 Closed Circuit ticket at the Park Theater, Monte Carlo – which also happens to be a stone’s throw from T-Mobile Arena, right across from the Toshiba Plaza. I had originally been tempted by the TAP Sports Bar at the MGM Grand, but this was sold out and a ticket for the theater at the MGM was close to $300.
I had gotten to T-Mobile Arena early, before I went to Monte Carlo to book my ticket, and already there were Irish fans there in good spirits. The atmosphere prior to folks entering the Arena was great, with fans gathering together and posing/chanting from the camera. It was cool to see Mayweather and McGregor fans bantering and mingling, it was all in good spirits.
I walked into the T-Mobile Arena and documented the walk in with a series of short videos, starting with this one.
I arrived early, and figured it’d fill up, and the Arena mostly did, but many of the seats up at the top where I were were empty. This was both disappointing and surprising… added to the fact that an Irish fan told me touts were selling tickets outside for $100 a pop. I shuffled along to get a slightly better view of the stage.
Various performances and interviews went on pre- the Undercard weigh-ins, and by the time I’d grabbed a bite, bantered with the catering staff and a couple more Irish fans, it had kicked off and I’d actually missed most of the weigh-ins, including debutant Brit Savannah Marshall -_-
At this point the Arena was a sea of green and there was an electric atmosphere as Conor McGregor’s time came, and his pictured appeared on the giant screens, adorning his typical stylish sunglasses and with Irish-flag-emblazoned Beats headphones around his neck. (The new Beats/McGregor advert is worth a watch, btw).
McGregor strode with his entourage onto the stage, and strutted around as Floyd and his entourage were announced and began their own walk from the other side of the Arena; at one point, McGregor was even singing along to Floyd’s intro music “In the air tonight”, a Phil Collins classic. Mayweather, wearing TBE on his cap and t-shirt, got onto the stage and confidently jumped around on the stage, making his presence felt.
Both laughed and tauned one another, Conor laughing at Floyd’s physique (“He’s in the worst shape I’ve ever seen him in”) and Floyd also laughing in Conor’s direction, making a point-and-fire gun action as the announcer announced his name, as he took the scales.
Conor McGregor really does feed off of the crowd, and his emotions came out as, fired up, he let out a barrage of words at Mayweather – the most ferocious we’ve seen from any of the previous face-offs – and let out his trademark yell with frenzied eyes, turning to the crowd and thumping his chest and the crowd got louder and louder, McGregor and the Arena feeding off of one another.
I actually struggled to hear the fighters’ short interviews that took place on stage after the weights had been taken – and picked up on what I’d missed from the walks onto the stage and what took place on it, on,y this morning as I watched a YouTube recording.
I left the Arena to the chants and cries of a pumped-up Irish crowd, who’d arrived in numbers.
I sat with a few Irish fans, and whilst they were hopeful for their man, they were also aware of the reality of the situation and cautious about his chances… then again, I saw more than a handful of brave “49-1” t-shirts worn by Irish fans.
Bring on the fight! We’re just hours away now… we are almost there. The atmosphere all over Vegas will be electric tonight.
The biggest fight in combat sports history is within touching distance.
I’ll be watching the action from the 5,200-capacity Park Theatre @ Monte Carlo from 6pm PDT (2am UK time); I’m told around 1,000 of those seats won’t be taken as they are balcony.
Maybe, just maybe, Floyd Mayweather has woken up undefeated for the very last time…
Saturday 26th August, 2017