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List of Articles by Ed de la Vega, DDS


 

MOVE OVER MGM, THERE’S A NEW AND BETTER VENUE IN TOWN

By Ed de la Vega, DDS
PhilBoxing.com
09 May 2016



Las Vegas, NV: - For years, when huge fights are made, particularly on especial holidays like Cinco de Mayo, the place to be is at the old MGM Grand Garden Arena inside the famed MGM Hotel Casino Resort. In fact, for many years it was the “in” place for boxing. The place was made so popular by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. that the owners begun calling the place the “home” of Mayweather. They even have a huge display of his memorabilia right on the lobby.

But now the glamour that is the MGM Grand Garden may be fading. There is now a new challenger in town. Oddly, it’s owned by the same money group- the MGM!

A few weeks ago a new swanky place dubbed as the T-Mobile Arena opened just outside the New York New York and the Monte Carlo Casinos. It has a huge plaza that is sponsored by another giant of a company - The Toshiba of Japan. The site is far enough from the MGM but an easy shuttle ride for the media folks that are housed at MGM, the same place where last Saturday’s Media Room for the Canelo-Khan fight was situated.

Last Friday, Golden Boy Promotions opted to use the Toshiba Plaza for an “open to the public” weigh-in of the fighters involved in the Canelo-Khan fight card. Then they held a free boxing card in the late afternoon at the same plaza to generate hype for the following day’s event.

Then Saturday night, Golden Boy Promotions put up first fight card ever at the new arena with the much bigger Canelo Alvarez fighting a bloated Amir Khan in the main event. Of course by now everyone knows what happened. But that’s another story.

To the auxiliary media people particularly the non-main-stream media photographers, the T-Mobile Arena is a gift. It is a far cry better than MGM Grand.

First, the access to the location on Section 15 and 16 where a majority of them were placed was very easy. Even a first timer can readily locate the access leading to the assigned seats.

Secondly, the space allotted for the photographers was exceedingly large with food facilities and bathrooms within a few steps. From those aforementioned sections, the view of the ring is a straight shot. One does not need a 500 or 600 mm lens to get great shots. A 400mm is more than enough. Even a 300mm will do. There were no distractions at all not even when fans stand in excitement as they watch the fights. We can’t say that for the MGM.

But the best part of being at the new Arena is the egress. Unlike the MGM Grand where the designers of the building made sure that people coming out of the Grand Garden Arena are funneled to the casino floor creating a bottle neck that is ripe for the stampedes that open occurs when Mayweather fights (well at least on two occasions) the ones at the T-Mobile are far different. Getting out of the place is so smooth, sweet and painless.

From what I heard from the folks that came to the historic fight card that occurred last Saturday, there is no bad seat in the house. Even those at the “nosebleed” sections were happy.

The folks that like to drink while they kibitz in the open areas and near the bars or while enjoying the fights are happy as well. Gone are the long beer lines that are well known at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. There were plenty of beer stands and food kiosks that long lines were not necessary. For the more than 16,000 that saw the fight, that was indeed great news. Oh, we also spotted small outdoor balconies where addicted smokers can get their dose of nicotine without disrupting non- smokers with their nasty second hand smoke.

The food? Two words - great selections! Besides the usual popcorn, chips, nachos and hotdogs, there are places where prime rib sandwich or even sushi albeit pre-prepared and packaged can be had. Try getting that at the MGM Grand Garden Arena!

Talking to the auxiliary media folks that covered the event, everyone without exception would rather cover fights at the T-Mobile Arena than at MGM Grand or even the Mandalay Bay.

It is by far, the better place for big time fights. It's bigger, more accessible and within walking distance from many casinos. The Thomas and Mack Arena is comparable in size but it’s far from the casinos and public transportation is terribly absent.

Maybe the designers learned lessons from the other places when they designed the new place. It’s an almost perfect venue for boxing, not to mention concerts, basketball and of course, hockey.

But then again, that’s what they most probably had in mind - a superb place to see big-time events in a venue that is accessible, have excellent parking next door and great amenities.

Frankly, it would be a perfect venue for Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin on Cinco de Mayo weekend, 2017. I am sure the more than 18,000 that will fill the place for that fight will agree.

Are you listening, Oscar?


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