Although its reputation has been mainly built on the back of the luxurious casino/hotel complexes that it boasts, which see gamblers from all over the world flock there to play casino games, Las Vegas is about more than just this. It is also a major entertainment centre that plays host to prestige music concerts and sporting events every year. An example of this would be the highly-anticipated upcoming fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather that will be held in Vegas later this year, but the city has a long history of hosting epic boxing encounters.
- Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield
This 1992 world heavyweight championship fight has gone down in boxing history as one of the greatest ever, and took place at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas, on November 13th of that year. It was relished by boxing fans for the different tactical approaches deployed by the fighters, with the smaller Holyfield using pace and hustle against the combo punches and jab of his larger opponent. The result was a closely contested thriller, but it was Bowe who came out on top – setting the stage for two further contests between the pair.
- Barry McGuigan vs. Steve Cruz
Las Vegas has also played host to its fair share of boxing upsets over the years, with this 1986 fight between Irishman Barry McGuigan and American Steve Cruz being a fine example. Going into the fight, McGuigan held the WBA featherweight title and was odds on favourites with bookmakers to see off his unfancied opponent. The fight was held at Caesars Palace and it could be that the searing heat on the night – temperatures reached 105 degrees – worked against the Irish fighter, but things didn’t go according to plan. Going into the last round, Cruz was behind on two cards, but shocked everyone by knocking McGuigan to the canvas in round 15.
- Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield
This 1999 fight, once again held at the Thomas and Mack Centre, had the highest attendance figures of any in Las Vegas during the past two decades. It saw British fighter Lewis trying to get revenge for the dubious decision that had handed victory to Holyfield in their earlier encounter, with 17,078 people packing the arena – and many more watching on television – to see if he could. This led to an overall gate of $18.86 million and Lewis got his vengeance with a unanimous decision in his favour.
When Mayweather and McGregor take each other on in Vegas next month, it could well prove to be another in the city’s history of legendary boxing matches. McGregor certainly brings a comparatively unknown quantity, as well as youth, but the skills and experience of Mayweather should eventually prove too much for him to handle.