Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 | 3:45 p.m.
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez made weight today for their welterweight fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Marquez took to the scales first at the MGM Grand, weighing in at 143 pounds. Pacquiao followed at 147 pounds — the welterweight maximum.
This is the fourth, and likely last, fight in a heated series — some boxing experts call it one of the sport’s all-time rivalries — between two fighters that history has proven are evenly matched.
Their inaugural fight in 2004 was ruled a draw. Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) won by split decision in 2008 and by majority decision last November. In the majority decision, one judge scored the fight a draw and another scored it in Marquez’s favor at 115-113. But the third judge saw it 116-112 in favor of Pacquiao to give him the majority decision by one round.
Yes, it’s been that close.
The weigh-in, which was free to the public, was attended by about 6,000 fans — a majority of whom cheered loudly for the Mexican Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs). The event also was attended by several boxing legends, including former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, former five-division champion and Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard, and HBO commentator and former champ Roy Jones Jr.
The list of notables also included newbie promoter 50 Cent. The rapper was on stage when his fighter, undefeated Cuban defector Yuriokis Gamboa, weighed in for his undercard fight.
Officials from Top Rank, which is promoting the event, announced earlier Friday that the 16,000-seat arena has been sold out. They said the gate will exceed $10.5 million. The card will be televised on closed circuit at several MGM properties on the Strip, and Top Rank officials also expect those seats to sell out.
“Manny and Juan Manuel may have unfinished business in the ring, but as far as the live box office, it’s business as usual — another sellout,” Bob Arum, the Top Rank president, said in a statement. “I encourage boxing fans in Las Vegas to go to their favorite MGM Resort International property to purchase their closed-circuit seats today because the projections are looking like a sellout there, too.”
Pacquiao, who in June lost a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley for his first loss in seven years, is a heavy betting favorite at the MGM sports book. Pacquiao is a -370 favorite (bet $37 to win $10) while Marquez is listed at +280.