Saturday, May 3, 2014 | 9:10 p.m.
Daniel Ledesma isn’t fluent in English, but he knew enough of the language to offer a prediction on Saturday’s welterweight title unification bout between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.
“Maidana in four,” said Ledesma, part of a large and passionate group of Argentines who traveled to Las Vegas to support Maidana.
Maidana hails from Santa Fe, Argentina, and was fighting in the backyard of Mayweather, a Las Vegas resident. But fans like Ledesma made it no contest which boxer’s followers made the more passionate showing in the run-up to the fight. It was Maidana’s.
Ledesma, of Buenos Aires, was part of a group of about 25 Maidana fans who chanted, danced and showered one another with beer on the concourse of the MGM Grand Garden Arena as the undercard bouts for the fight played out. Many wore light blue and white, the colors of their nation’s flag, including one fan clad in a sultan’s hat and cape bearing the colors.
Elsewhere, other groups of Maidana’s fellow Argentines broke out in song, including one that drowned out a few Mayweather fans who tried to counter them with chants of “USA!”
“Ole, ole, ole, ole, Chino, Chino,” they sang, referring to Maidana’s nickname, El Chino.
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The Corona beer logo was seemingly everywhere during a fight held on Cinco de Mayo weekend. The beer brand was one of the top sponsors of the event, so it got promo space on the following and more: the ropes, the bikinis of the ring girls, the round cards held by the ring girls and an attraction at the entrance of the arena where fans could have their photos taken with three Corona-bikini-clad models.
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Speaking of alcohol, the price of an imported beer was $12. A double cocktail was $17. Elsewhere at concession and souvenir stands, water was $4 a bottle, peanuts were $4.50 a bag, commemorative hats were selling for $45 and a commemorative boxing glove ran $65.
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Atlanta resident Ron Brashear traveled to Las Vegas for the fight partly because he’s a boxing blogger and longtime fan, but he was also out to complete a longtime quest.
In 2005, Brashear received a copy of a coffee table book on the history of boxing while covering a title bout. He decided to start collecting the signatures of the boxers mentioned in the book, along with those of other fighters, promoters other prominent figures in the boxing world.
After nine years, he’s still missing a big one – literally. Former heavyweight champion George Foreman hasn’t signed the book, so Brashear was hoping he could catch him at Saturday’s bout.
Foreman apparently didn’t show, but Brashear was confident he would someday be able to get his signature.
“If I can show him the others who have signed, I think he’ll do it,” he said.
The book bears signatures of more than 300 boxing champions and celebrities, such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Mayweather, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes and Don King. Brashear says he has photos that verify each signature is authentic.