Report: Dubai to Become New Fight Capital of the World?

Anyone who's been following news of the current economic climate - and really, that's everyone - knows that Las Vegas has not been spared from the global downturn. Foreclosures are sky high, tourism is down, and even the previously recession-proof casinos are struggling.

Could things be so bad that Sin City would lose its place as the center of the boxing universe? Steve Cofield of Yahoo! Sports thinks so. In its place, he nominates... Dubai?

Cofield goes on to list a number of early 2009 fights that won't be taking place in Vegas, including Andre Berto-Luis Collazo (Biloxi) and Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz (Houston). The location of the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight hasn't been finalized, but smart money says it will be held in Vegas.

Let's not kid ourselves. The big fights will go where the money is, and with boxing more popular in other countries than it is in the United States, it stands to reason that more championship bouts will be held elsewhere.

For now though, the perception of the majority of fans and observers is that a fighter hasn't really made it to the top of the sport until he's fighting on pay-per-view in the U.S. - and until another location steps up and takes the top spot, that's still going to happen in Las Vegas more often than anywhere else. Putting on big fights in exotic locales also has its own set of challenges, as Bob Arum recently told MaxBoxing's Steve Kim when he spoke about the difficulty of selling tickets in Macau.

Sorry Dubai. Your time may come, but it won't be any time soon.


uatu said...

Berto-Collazo isn't a Vegas fight. It's a bad example to use. Diaz-Marquez isn't much better as an example. These are not huge events. They are just nice fights. As the article itself says, these are second-tier. Even in the best of times it is hard to imagine a bunch of fans flying to Vegas for Berto-Collazo, even though it is an interesting fight.

Nick Tylwalk said...

Actually Uatu, I said that Cofield was the one that mentioned those fights. And since I am basically doubting the main premise of his blog post, I agree that the location of those fights doesn't really mean anything. Those weren't going to be held at MGM Grand Or Mandalay Bay regardless. But I also don't think you'd see fights like that in Dubai or Manila.