LAS VEGAS — Tickets have sold out for the 16,000-plus capacity MGM Grand Garden Arena and Saturday night’s fourth bout between welterweights Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, producing a live gate in excess of $10.5 million, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum announced on Friday.
Pacquaio is coming off November’s majority decision victory over Marquez after having fought to a draw and a split-decision victory.
Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
Pacquiao chose to face Marquez over a rematch with Tim Bradley, whose disputed split-decision victory dethroned Pacquiao as WBO welterweight beltholder in June.
“Manny and Juan Manuel may have unfinished business in the ring, but as far as the live box office, it’s business as usual – another sellout,” said Arum.
“I encourage boxing fans in Las Vegas to go to their favorite MGM Resort International property to purchase their closed-circuit seats today because the projections are looking like a sellout there, too.”
PACQUIAO-MARQUEZ 4 HBO2 TAKEOVER
HBO2 is set to run a full slate of boxing-oriented programming on Saturday in advance of Pacquiao vs. Marquez, the broacast of which begins at 9 p.m.
The four-hour block of Pacquiao-Marquez fight-related content, called Pacquiao-Marquez 4 HBO2 Takeover, will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET and 2 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT.
Below is a list of the programming on HBO2:
5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT: ‘Weigh-In Live: Pacquiao/Marquez 4’ (replay)
5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT: ‘Classic Boxing: Pacquiao vs. Marquez III’
6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT: “24/7 Pacquiao/Marquez 4” episode #1
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT: “24/7 Pacquiao/Marquez 4” episode #2
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT: “24/7 Pacquiao/Marquez 4” episode #3
8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT: “24/7 Pacquiao/Marquez 4” episode #4
8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT: “Weigh-In Live: Pacquiao/Marquez 4” (replay)
Arum attended Thursday night’s fight card along with Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns at The Mirage, where Raymundo Beltran rose from the canvas to score a unanimous decision win over Ji-Hoon Kim in the main event of a special edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
Leonard overcame Hearns by 14th-round knockout in September of 1981, dethroning the WBA welterweight titleholder in a clash of pound-for-pound titans.
Hearns scored knockdowns in the third and 11th rounds against Leonard in their draw in June of 1989, for which Hearns weighed 162 1/2 to Leonard’s 160.
ANGEL HERNANDEZ CLARIFIES HIS NAME
Marquez’s strength and conditioning coach says reports over the past year have incorrectly stated that he changed his name, and explained by saying that his full name is Angel Guillermo Heredia Hernandez.
Hernandez said the confusion arose in early November of last year after BALCO founder Victor Conte tweeted his knowledge of Hernandez’s past involvement in performance-enhancing activities, calling him Angel Heredia.
Hernandez was later identified as Angel Hernandez in Episode 2 of HBO’s 24/7 series, during which he was asked why he changed his name from Angel Heredia to Angel Hernandez.
“I never once switched my name. Keep that in mind. That’s been my name since I was born. The thing about it is that Victor Conte started this,” said Hernandez.
“I never changed my name. That was the name that my parents gave me. My father is Mexican and Italian, and my mother was Mexican completely.”
Marquez sparked controversy and came under scrutiny for hiring Hernandez for his last fight against Pacquiao.
MIKKEL KESSLER WEIGHS 167.7, BRIAN MAGEE, 167.9
Three-time super middleweight titleholder Mikkel Kessler, of Denmark, weighed 167.7 on Friday compared to 167.9 for Ireland’s Brian Magee, against whom Kessler will pursue his fourth straight win, his third consecutive knockout victory and the WBA’s super middleweight interim belt in Herning, Denmark, on Saturday.
Kessler, 33, is 45-2 with 34 knockouts, and has won his past three fights, including the past two by stoppage in the sixth and fourth rounds over Mehdi Bouadla and Allan Green, respectively.
Kessler is returning to Herning for the first time since April of 2010, when he dethroned England’s Carl Froch as WBC super middleweight beltholder by unanimous decision in a bloody, all-out battle.
Kessler’s win over Froch was part of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic. Although bleeding from the nose slightly, and very badly from a severe cut over his left eye, Kessler also managed to draw blood from Froch’s nose and eye.
Kessler’s triumph over Froch helped him to rebound from losing his WBA belt by a one-sided, 11-round technical-decision loss to Andre Ward in the first round of the Super Six in Nov. 2009.
Ward’s victory ended a streak of three straight stoppage wins by Kessler, whose previous setback had been at the hands of southpaw Joe Calzaghe by unanimous decision in November of 2007.
In August of 2010, Kessler had to pull out of the Super Six with an eye injury, canceling a September bout with Green. Kessler has fought only five times outside his home country, including the losses to Calzaghe and Ward.
With the wins over Froch, Bouadla and Green, however, Kessler is 42-0 when fighting in Denmark.
AMIR KHAN-MARCOS MAIDANA TO RE-AIR ON TELEFUTURA ON SATURDAY
The win by Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) was named Fight of The Year by the Boxing Writers’ Association of America.
Khan is currently preparing for a Dec. 15 clash with Carlos Molina (18-0-1, 7 KOs), not to be confused with the 154-pound contender by the same name, that will happen at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and will be televised on Showtime.
Khan left trainer Freddie Roach after 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins following July’s fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia, whose triumph added Khan’s WBA belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
The loss to Garcia was the second in a row for Khan, whose winning streak under Roach ended with a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan began working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008. From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major title belts.
That stretch also included knockouts of New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
A five-time Trainer of The Year, Roach is in Las Vegas preparing Pacquiao for Saturday’s bout with Marquez.
JESSIE VARGAS, OSCAR VALDEZ MAKE WEIGHT
Welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas (20-0, 9 KOs) weighed 149 compared to 149.5 for Saturday night’s rival, Vito Gasparyan (14-2-5, 8 KOs) for a main event that will happen at The Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas. Vargas debuted under Top Rank with September’s unanimous decision over Aaron Martinez.
Meanwhile, two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (1-0, 1 KO) weighed 126 compared to 126.5 for Corben Page (4-4-1), whom he will meet on Saturday.
Valdez debuted with last month’s second-round knockout of Mexican featherweight countryman Angel Prado on a Top Rank-promoted card in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Valdez, 22, who signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank, represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games, making it to the quarterfinals in London as a bantamweight.
Valdez lost to eventual silver medalist John Joe Nevin of Ireland, whom he forced to take a standing eight-count following a debilitating body shot. Oscar Valdez is trained by his father, Oscar Sr., and managed by Frank Espinoza.
RANCES BARTHELEMY MEETS ARASH USMANEE IN IBF ELIMINATOR
Lightweights Rances Barthelemy (17-0, 11 KOs), of Miami, and Arash Usmanee (20-0, 10 KOs), of Montreal, will face off in a Jan. 4 IBF-eliminator bout at Miami’s Magic City Casino as the main event of a show entitled “Friday Night Fights.”
In the co-featured televised bout, junior middleweight contenders Johnathan “Mantequilla” Gonzalez (15-0-1, 13 KOs), of Puerto Rico, and Derek “Pooh” Ennis (23-3-1, 13 KOs), of Philadelphia will meet.
Photos courtesy of HBO
Photo by Stacey Verbeek
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Alexis Cuarezma, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com