Golovkin vs Canelo venue and location: Here's why Las Vegas
Boxing fans on the west coast awoke on Monday to the news which took all but thirty days to materialize.
The hotly anticipated showdown for all the middleweight marbles between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovkin will be held in nowhere other than Las Vegas, Nevada.
In May of last year, so many of us were beginning to feel as if we were being led through the all too familiar waiting game which felt more like a meat grinder. Two years ago, bickering forces finally put their collective differences aside and gave the sporting public the contest which was more than half a decade in the making, if not wanting.
Alas, we all know how that went and no sooner than the bell sounded to end that particular bout were we imagining much better ways to spend one hundred dollars as well as conjuring excuses to friends as to why boxing is still such a great spectator sport.
GGG vs Canelo: Location and venue backstory
Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KO's) helped with the grand opening of the brand new T-Mobile Arena on the Vegas Strip last year with his sixth round knockout win over Amir Khan.
During his post fight, in-ring interview, he proudly proclaimed that he feared no one and that he as well as his compatriots were ready to face Golovkin at all costs.
"We don't bleep around," he declared. That seemed to be good enough reason for us and assurances were at least verbally given that negotiations were underway for the unification bout which could easily be considered the Fall Classic to boxing fans worldwide.
A month passed before we learned that he would not be facing "GGG" in September 2016, but instead the name of Liam Smith was introduced to all but the most ardent fans of the fight science. Seven, eight and lastly nine were the rounds where Alvarez introduced the then unbeaten Smith to the canvas en route to a ninth round stoppage win capped off by a hellacious body shot. As long as Canelo was there to profess his bravery and willingness to face all comers, then we were safe to think that perhaps Cinco de Mayo weekend of 2017 would give us the throw down between he and Golovkin.
Gennady knocked out Kell Brook in five rounds rounds that same month. Interestingly enough, "GGG" was taken to the ends of the Earth last March when he found out that Danny Jacobs was no pushover. Many ringside observers as well as fans saw Golovkin tested to the point of getting the first digit in the loss column as a professional. He was awarded a slim unanimous decision win last but one of two things may have occurred. Either he had slipped a bit at age 34 or his opponent actually had the audacity to hit back.
This brief backstory brings us humbly to last month. May 6, 2017 to be exact.
Canelo didn't fight Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO's), but instead faced Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., a particular bout which is already in the history books but still causes us to rub our eyes in disbelief as to why it was ever offered up as a legitimate challenge to the redheaded hombre from Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX.
We all know why.
Even though Golovkin has endeared himself to Mexican fans as evident by his ability to pack the Forum in Los Angeles as well as Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, money always plays the biggest hands in the game of negotiations. It never sleeps and it speaks without actually emitting sounds or gestures.
Cinco de Mayo
Though most in Mexico neither celebrate nor care about Cinco de Mayo, it's become an American sojourn of sorts closely linked to Sin City. Something had to give and with Floyd Mayweather's preferred association with the weekend now gone, the time was ripe for two Mexican fighters to engage. The only problem was that the last time Canelo and Chavez, Jr. were linked in a possible matchup, it was overlooked as a cliff too high for Alvarez and one that had to wait due to differences in size, experience and other factors.
Of course, their respective careers went in opposite trajectories across the boxing galaxy as Canelo fought all comers, losing only once (to Mayweather) as little Julio smoked, ate and drank through his career. It's disrespectful to refer to some of his opponents as tomato cans, but they weren't ranked or champions in comparison to who Canelo faced. All of this is another story, of course and we know how their bout last month ended. It was embarrassment for Chavez, Jr. and a high drama ending for Alvarez. All that was missing was perhaps a red carpet or Gennady Golovkin soaring down from the rafters on a zip line into the ring. A brief interview ensued as Canelo flashed hints of English alongside statements which would look great on a t-shirt.
We were given a date. Mexican Independence Day, Saturday, September 16, 2017. All that was left was a venue. This is where the real fun began.
Rationale behind GGG vs Canelo location and venue
Sites outside of the United States never really seemed to be in serious contention. Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Wembley Stadium in London or an arena in Dubai were all out of the question, frankly speaking. Though Las Vegas always would always be the most logical destination due to once again, money as well as sponsorship, the last possibility appeared to be AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
T-Mobile Arena facts
Opened: April 6, 2016
Operator: MGM Resorts International
Cost: $375 million
End Stage Concerts: 12,000 – 18,000
44 Luxury Suites
2 Party Suites
Two-acre outdoor Toshiba Plaza for pre-event functions and special events
Premium balconies on all VIP and public levels with views to the plaza, park and Strip
Wide variety of food and beverage options at each level
Why not AT&T Stadium?
Owner Jerry Jones attested that he'd be ready to host the event on September 16 and the billion dollar stadium would be free, as the Cowboys would be away that weekend playing the Denver Broncos. Would a big time, legitimate "pound for pound" type of contest take place outside of Las Vegas in the 21st Century? This is in regard to America as opposed to Europe. The answer is of course, no. There have been exceptions, to be sure but a bout of this magnitude won't listen to many offers outside of the Nevada desert.
Site fees and once again, lots of green. Jerry Jones could have easily thrown ten digits at Oscar De La Hoya and associated parties, but while the idea of a fight of this magnitude returning to a football stadium sounds enticing, there are other facts to consider:
1) Jones doesn't own a casino and a championship contest is a one-off event, unlike an NFL game, which AT&T hosts every Fall. So much money is already made from season ticket holders, parking, concessions and seat licenses. The cost associated with simply opening the doors must be staggering but this is an in and out type of scenario.
2) Inside the stadium is one of the largest video screens in the free world and of course, ninety thousand or more spectators could flock for to see Canelo face Golovkin and the lot of them would rabidly cheer for the former. But outside the stadium is well, frankly not much.
One side boasts a Wal-Mart, while the others face apartment communities and neighborhoods. The area, according to some is in dire need of a facelift, even with Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers and the Six Flags amusement park nearby. There aren't nearly as many hotel rooms in the vicinity as Las Vegas Boulevard and as is the case for Cowboys games as well as other events, room rates are set to extortion levels while the cost of parking can alone eclipse one hundred dollars. There's a few bars and restaurants in the area, but that's about it. The official fight hotel would likely be the Gaylord Texan in nearby Grapevine, which is the establishment linked to the Cowboys. Rates there would likely be just as obscene as the Days Inn located across the street from AT&T Stadium.
3) Will rooms in Vegas be any cheaper? If one is willing to look, then yes. Secondly, this is where everything being bigger in Texas has come back to bite itself.
4) And lastly, most events at the MGM, Mandalay Bay or in this case, T-Mobile Arena are easily accessible by cab, if not by foot. Patrons would have to drive, drive and drive some more in Arlington. This reality doesn't excuse the fact that so many fans feel shanked by the decision to hold the bout in Las Vegas.
The bottom line
The bottom line is the casino across the street from T-Mobile. The MGM/Mirage family can always offer more money and no amount can't be made back in three months' time on the gaming floor. Imagine the amounts that will be wagered at sporting books in Vegas for the simple fact that it's being held there. De La Hoya stated on Monday that the ball was rolling to have several, as in double digit sites hosting parties on the Strip complete with large screens, open bars and the necessary accouterments of fight night.
None of this means that we as fans can't fire up the grill, invite the guys and gals over and crowd around the TV for the main event which will start no earlier than 11PM on the east coast. That's a lot of beers and ribs to go around. Drink responsibly and wake up in your own bed. There will always be another day and another fight.
Next time, maybe there won't be so many frowns.
GGG vs Canelo Fight Officially Set For T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas | SportsCenter | ESPN