blog Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Landing in Las Vegas for Floyd Mayweather-Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Tris Dixon, going back to Sin City, prepares for work and recalls some memorable moments

ACCORDING to my best estimates, this is my 51st trip to Las Vegas - this time for Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez - and there have been some extraordinary and memorable moments.

There was the great Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana clash that was in the running for Fight of the Year honours, a visit to the 50 Cent gym earlier this year where I interviewed Chad Dawson, Yurirokis Gamboa and Jean Pascal and, a year earlier, I enjoyed an unexpected treat when Miguel Cotto pushed Floyd Mayweather Jnr far harder that I expected.

I've interviewed dozens of fighters here. Perhaps more than 100.

I've talked to MikeTyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. Oscar De La Hoya told me how he remembered that, during the Mayweather fight of 2007, he knew his career was over. Ishe Smith has spoke about depression, suicide and dreams coming true. Nonito Donaire talked about the family split he'd been bottling up for years. Mayweather told me about cockroaches in prison. I've heard Manny Pacquiao sing here, and pay me a compliment for my shorthand!

I've also seen 50 Cent lowered from the ceiling of the MGM Grand while rapping entrance music for his boxer Gamboa!

And I've bumped into countless other fighters. After all, it is the fight capital.

Last year there was Scott Quigg and Kiko Martinez (who posed for pictures together!), and I've seen Stephen Smith, Richie Woodhall and Matthew Macklin.

I couldn't possibly name everyone because when a big fight is on they come from all over, magnetised by star power, occasion and big names.

I've missed a few big nights, of course, over the years. I was due to go to Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito I but close friends were having a Christening for their daughter. I tried and tried to get out but, being the godfather, it was an impossible task! At least I was able to get to the Margarito-Cotto rematch, although that was at New York's Madison Square Garden, when Cotto enjoyed sweet revenge.

Travel is undoubtedly part of the job that is one of the perks. But it is hard work.

Both journeys and their respective layovers last about 15 hours. I always work during the entire time, writing blogs and researching fights on the way out and transcribing my notes, writing the report and going back over the fights on the way back.

So that's 30 hours of work for the week before you've actually 'worked'. You live the fight, however, in Vegas.

On Tuesdays, both fighters are given their Grand Arrivals in front of mobs of hundreds of fans in the MGM Grand lobby. That kicks off the week and lasts a couple of hours.

On Wednesday, there's the Main Event press conference, where Mayweather and Alvarez will come face to face and fire their final verbal shots. The trainers will also have plenty to say. That's another couple of hours, and then there are always interviews to be done as there are so many fighters around. That could easily total another four hours once they're transcribed.

On Thursday, the undercard fighters come together in their bid for column inches. This should last longer, maybe another two to three hours and once that is written and transcribed you're looking at five-plus hours. On Thursday night this week, too, there is a show at the MGM Grand featuring the return between Shawn Porter and Julio Diaz – who shared a spirited draw in December.

That show will likely start at 6 or 7pm and go on beyond midnight. By the time I'm back in the room and typing up the report then around 12 hours work has gone into the day. I'll edit and finish that report on the Friday morning, perhaps taking another couple of hours, and then get to the media centre to grab what interviews I can and wait for the weigh-in, something that might take as much as another couple of hours. More often then not, there are fights on the Friday night, too. So another six-seven hours work until the early hours, up early to finish and file that report and then you need to start thinking about food as, for Boxing News, once we get into the arena for the first bell of the show at around 3pm you don't leave. You have to record everything. Other writers come and go. There's food put on in the media centre but we have to sit firm and record every piece of the action.

The show and subsequent post-fight presser might mean you get back to your hotel at 2am. If you're lucky. And early on Sunday morning you find yourself in huge queues at the airport, about to begin the 15-hour passage home with a two-hour layover at somewhere like Newark, Atlanta, Detroit or Minneapolis.

By my lose estimates, the week is a wrap having worked more than 65 hours over seven days straight. Often me or the others squeeze that into four days as we don't come over until the Wednesday or Thursday.

Yes, Vegas is great fun – the novelty might have worn off even if the amazement hasn't. And there is now a sickly but friendly familiarity to it. I like spending time with the US boxing guys, like ESPN's Dan Rafael and Kieran Mulvanney, Sports Illustrated's Bryan Graham, Harold Lederman, Steve Farhood and several of the web writers.

There sometimes a small English contingent, too. I enjoy the company of the Daily Mail's Jeff Powell, have always liked The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell and BoxNation's Steve Lillis.

I'm about to land in Vegas and have to pick up my car. It's hot already, and night is about to fall. This could be the biggest fight in my tenure as BN editor and I'm sure I'll love every minute. Just don't expect me to come back with a tan!

CLICK HERE for Tris Dixon's five Las Vegas memories, some good, some bad.


Author : Tris Dixon


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