PRO BOXING: Fight of the Century could renew boxing interest
Saturday, the two most recognized boxers in the world will take part in what is being called the Fight of the Century. Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes on Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the two welterweights will fight in front of ...
Saturday, the two most recognized boxers in the world will take part in what is being called the Fight of the Century.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes on Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the two welterweights will fight in front of 16,500 and a live gate of $74 million. Both fighters are expected to earn more than $100 million in a bout that is expected to shatter every revenue record in boxing history.
The fight also is one many hope will rejuvenate interest in the sport.
And that includes Virgil Hill, the former WBA light heavyweight champion who grew up in Grand Forks.
“It’ll be a good shot in the arm for boxing,” said Hill, who now lives in Los Angeles and trains his son, Virgil Hill Jr. “I wish we had a couple of more guys who could do the same thing.”
Hill is familiar with both boxers. But he knows Pacquiao a little better. Pacquiao’s trainer is Freddie Roach, who trained Hill during his glory years as a world champion.
Mayweather is favored but Hill said the bout could be a great one.
“I’m going to go with Mayweather but I think Pacquiao can beat him,” said Hill. “If anyone can do it, Pacquiao can.
“Floyd is a guy who might lose the first two or three rounds but he eventually figures you out. He takes over from there. Mayweather is not a finisher and Pacquiao hasn’t had a knockout in a long time. And they’re both fighting outside their weight class.”
Hill knows what a headline Vegas fight is like.
In 1991, Hill fought Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns at Caesar’s Palace in a headline Vegas fight. “Not too bad for a North Dakota kid,” said Hill, a Hall of Fame boxer.
Hearns, however, was the unanimous winner in the 12-round WBA light-heavyweight title fight.
The lead up to the Vegas fight is something Hill remembers well.
“You can do no wrong; you’re a real popular guy,” said Hill. “Unless you lose.”
But Hill had remarkable career, first winning a Silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Korea before going on to become a four-time world champion.
Hill, who finished with a career record of 50-7, said he’ll likely watch the fight. But his attention lately has been on the boxing career of his son, Virgil Jr., who is scheduled to fight Butch Hajicek at Purpur Arena on May 15.
Saturday’s Vegas fight will be a sporting spectacle and could pump more interest back into boxing, Hill believes.
“In order for boxing to come back, the best have to fight the best,” said Hill.