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Billy Weir on the box: Big money keeps us up in small hours

By Billy Weir

Published 07/05/2015

US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., (L) and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their welterweight unification boxing bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., (L) and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their welterweight unification boxing bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

My mother warned me of the dangers of the Devil's Buttermilk, but did I listen? I had hummed and hoed all week whether to splash the cash for the greatest fight of the century (hmmm, are you sure?) but fuelled with a carefree attitude after light libations on Saturday evening, I chucked my £20 at the TV and Sky Pay Per View didn't even have the decency to tsk or shake its head at my foolhardy attitude.

It was just the nick of time too as I only had five hours to wait until things got under way for real and thankfully after a week of giving off that the World Golf Championships were being staged in San Francisco, the powers that be had the wisdom to have the golf on in San Francisco meaning we could stay awake for a few hours.

Sky did their best, arriving in Las Vegas with a strong team led suitably by Adam Smith, although it wasn't the wealth of the nations at stake, just that of Manny Pacquiao and the aptly nicknamed Floyd 'Money' Mayweather.

"If Floyd has lived the American dream, Manny's has read like a fairytale," said Smith, although it wasn't to have that type of ending as a man hasn't been bossed about so much by someone called Floyd since the poor cameraman was ordered about by Keith back in the day, but like Pacman and Keith, Manny has had his day.

"This decides everything, they're both very confident, in great shape and I don't think anybody will have any excuses if they lose," predicted Glenn McCrory. Apart from a sore shoulder.

Celebrities were there in abundance, including Sting, who floated in like a butterfly and buzzed off by telling us he didn't know who was going to win but he wanted Manny to but didn't know why. When you do, send us a message, perhaps in a bottle.

Craggy expert Jim Watt, who is a bit like Nicola Sturgeon but a little less scary, was less than impressed by all the hangers-on, as Robert de Niro dandered in.

"You know who all these people are Jim, don't you?" pressed commentator Nick Halling. "Would you give us a clue? That looked a little like Robert de Niro but probably just a lookalike," he growled.

Sadly there was to be only one pale imitation of a once great man as things got under way and we should have guessed what was to come when Carl Froch was so excited he lost the run of himself.

"It feels nothing like Wembley, it's more like the O2 or Nottingham Arena," he said as the MGM Grand felt slightly less grand all of a sudden but not as much as when actor Jamie Foxx got in the ring to murder the Star Spangled Banner, although it may have been a lookalike.

So after two MCs introduced the fighters, we were off, Halling stressing that it "isn't good versus evil, it's more God versus Mamman" and then explaining that Floyd was desperate to hold onto his '0'. Unlike Czechoslovakia.

By the end two big cheques were cashed, the fight for the ages that took ages to come about ended and as the dawn broke and birds twittered we all took our leave, muttering we'd never pay for this kind of thing again. Mothers are always right.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

THE GOOD: Well done to Stuart Bingham on winning the World Snooker Championship, becoming an overnight success in just 20 years. He has transformed himself from ‘Stuart Who?’ to ‘oh, you know, the fella who beat Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy, Stuart Thingy’.

THE BAD: Of all the bizarre and boring things Eurosport has shown down the years — and there have been many — few compare to Saturday’s live coverage of cyclist Alex Dowsett’s attempt to break the world one hour record. Round and round he went, finally setting a new mark of quite a long way but there was the slight feeling that this is how the Wall of Death would be once Health and Safety got hold of it.

THE UGLY: Well done to John Carver for somehow managing to edge out Mike Ashley to the Most Hated Man in Newcastle Award as the Magpies’ current boss (although that could change at any second) lost the plot on Saturday, blaming everyone from his own players to James Bolam and Rodney Bewes for their predicament. They certainly look likely lads for relegation.

Belfast Telegraph

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