Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 | 4:30 p.m.
IF YOU GO
Who: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena
Tickets: $150-$1,500, mgmgrand.com. (The original allotment officially sold out less than two hours after going on sale in September. A limited number of seats became available last week after a reconfiguration of the arena.)
Closed circuit: MGM Mirage properties, $60-$100
TV: Pay per view, $54.95
Weigh-in: 2 p.m. Friday, MGM Grand Garden Arena
- Special Section: Pacquiao-De La Hoya
- Nothing quite like buildup to a fight (12-5-2008)
- A recession-proof fight? Promoter thinks so (12-4-2008)
- Weighty issues solved (12-3-2008)
- Boxers arrive in grand fashion (12-2-2008)
- Historic feat provides target for Pacquiao (12-2-2008)
- Trainer aims jabs at new, if familiar, foe (11-27-2008)
- Buildup aside, this one feels big (11-18-2008)
Even if there was anything left to say about Saturday night’s “Dream Match” after weeks of nonstop promotion, the hundreds of fans in attendance for Friday afternoon’s official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena wouldn't have been able to hear it.
By the time Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao officially took the microphone in their last public appearance before Saturday night’s mega-fight at the Strip casino, the speakers had been turned so low the boxers' comments were inaudible.
It didn’t really matter though, comedian George Lopez more than made up for their silence — cracking plenty of ethic jokes and keeping the crowd entertained before the two welterweights tipped the scales well under the 147-pound limit.
De La Hoya, who Las Vegas sports books are making a minus 155 favorite, came in at 145-pounds, with the pound-for-pound champion Pacquaio registering 142.
“The pound-for-pound king, weighing in at all 80 pounds,” joked Lopez, whose two points of contention during the hour-long event were making fun of Mexicans for being able to illegally hook-up their TVs for the HBO pay-per-view bout and telling Top Rank chief Bob Arum he was gonna beat him up.
“For all you white people, call your local cable provider,” Lopez joked. “For all you Latinos, just twist the wires.
“White people have already seen the fight. They know who won and they’re not telling anybody.”
Before Pacquiao, decked out in his patented Philippines-colored jumpsuit, and De La Hoya, wearing a simple black outfit, were greeted with cheers of “Manny” and “Oscar,” ring announcer Michael Buffer introduced the rest of the boxers on Saturday’s card for their weigh-ins as well as giving a handful of big name fighters, Bernard Hopkins, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Shane Moseley a chance to give their predictions.
“Oscar De La Hoya will win this fight,” And if you’ve got a problem with that, I’ll be outside,” said Hopkins, who is represented by De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
The stance infused the Pacquiao-partisan fans in attendance, who again began a resounding “Manny, Manny” chant.
However, Hopkins quickly gathered his troops — the legions of Mexican and Latino fans, some waving Mexican flags, while others held up signs that read: “De La Hoya: The Pride of East L.A.” — to cue up a louder chorus of “Oscar, Oscar.”
“See you can’t even win that fight,” Hopkins said, receiving even more boos.
The reign of hisses allowed Lopez the chance to hop in for Hopkins.
“Ok, form a line, he’s going to start knocking you out one by one. … And Bob, you’re up next — he’s gonna fight you for a hip.”
Arum slid over to shake Lopez’s hand.
Moments later, Pacquaio entered with a warm welcome from his supporters with De La Hoya followed him to the scale as ESPN’s cameras aired the event live.
Before the two addressed the audience, they took their traditional square-off photos.
Lopez, in his one line of seriousness all day, reminded the audience there were only two options for tomorrow night.
“You either have to be in Las Vegas ringside with us or you have to watch this fight on pay-per-view,” he said. “This is gonna be an amazing fight.”
Andy Samuelson is a sports writer/editor for the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.