LAS VEGAS — Against a backdrop of confusion, contradiction and controversy, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will step into a boxing ring here Saturday night.
Fight fans hope they go toe-to-toe. That would be fitting, because everything else in their sport seems to be doing the same.
Friday brought the announcement that MGM Grand Garden Arena is sold out. That's 16,000 seats, with a live gate that Top Rank Promotions estimates to be worth $10.6 million. That would put the average ticket price at around $660.
Healthy sounding event, right?
The likelihood that this fight will top the previous Pacquiao-Marquez pay-per-view sell of 1.3 million adds to this considerably. That's at a price of $60 to $70, depending on whether you want to pay for high-definition.
The financials show a picture of a sport with rosy cheeks.
But then, about the same time as the sellout announcement, a Purdue professor with a background of credibility in documenting the sport released a statement that said it will take more than a great Pacquiao-Marquez fight to pick boxing, as a whole, off the canvas.