MGM Arena has played host to many of boxing's biggest, most popular fights. MGM in and of itself presents a special sort of historic nostalgia. When I visited this property for the first time several years ago, just walking through the hotel's venerated porte-cochere, I fully sensed that I was walking on hallowed grounds.
But to visit this property on fight weekend is something beyond special. It's like visiting your favorite place during holiday season, and all of the special decorations are displayed, with all of the festive music playing in the background. Except at MGM during fight weekend, its the faces of the fighters plastered along most visible walls of the casino, their names draped along the outdoor facade of the MGM Resort. Professional boxers and personalities are walking alongside you on the casino floor, while a replica boxing ring sits squarely in front of the hotel's check-in counter. Boxing memorabilia on full display throughout the lobby, and collectors can purchase their favorite souvenirs in the gift shop just a few steps away.
The weigh-in was a free event open the public, so if you didn't have a ticket to the main event, you could still catch a glimpse of your favorite boxer as they took to the scale. If you were lucky to attend, you may have found yourself joining one of Pacquiao's prayer services. 2 nights before the fight, you might have even seen Keith Thurman out on the casino floor where he was spotted by multiple fans. Just walking through slot machines, I passed welterweight phenoms Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr. and even Coach Freddie Roach!
There's a magical electricity in the Vegas air during fight weekend. At some point in your lifetime, you've got to find your way out to the Strip and experience fight history in person. Prepare to be knocked out!