Sport is a massive part of Irish culture and this is very true for boxing. There is just something about the sweet science which has always enchanted people from Ireland, and enables it to remain as popular as ever today. Over time, this has seen some iconic names in boxing emerge from the country but also some top venues for the sport stand out for Irish fight fans.
This is not something which is exclusive to Ireland though, and the USA is a good example to look at more closely. As well as some of the most famous boxers in history, the US also boasts some of the most well-known venues the sport has to offer. This is certainly true for Las Vegas, where the city’s grand casinos have become known as top venues for the sport.
Below we look at why Sin City’s grand casinos are an ideal setting for contests and which ones are most famous as boxing venues.
Why are the grand casinos in Las Vegas so popular as boxing venues?
To begin with, you need to look at how popular betting on boxing matches is and how convenient hosting fights at reputable casinos makes this for people in attendance. As lots of boxing fans like to bet on how the fight might go, they really value being able to do this at the venue itself. For those who like to play casino games too, having the chance to do this on-site before or after the bout is a major plus.
Of course, placing bets on fights is something fans in Ireland can do via online sportsbooks if they are not able to travel to watch the clash in person. Just remember to find Ireland’s best cashback bonus offers in advance, so you get the maximum you can from betting on boxing.
The grand casinos in Vegas also make great boxing venues because they are glamourous and fun places to be. This a great image for the sport to present to the world and makes any fight more exciting to watch either in person or on TV.
As the top casino resorts in Vegas can fit lots of people in, this large capacity also makes them ideal for hosting top bouts which lots of people want to watch in person. The big casino resorts in Vegas also have plenty of accommodation to offer visiting fight fans from places like Ireland.
While the above might explain why the top casinos in Vegas are ideal boxing venues, there are some casinos that have emerged as the most well-known over time. These include:
The MGM Grand’s history as a boxing venue makes it a grand casino with its own place in the sports heritage that is rooted in the 16,800-seat Garden Grand Arena. First opened in 1993, it became synonymous with boxing superstar Mike Tyson in that decade and the numerous super fights it hosted involving Tyson really put it on the boxing map.
This is where Iron Mike held his comeback bout against Pete McNeeley in 1995 where he destroyed his opponent in under a minute. The following year, Tyson returned to take on Bruce Seldon – an event which saw legendary rapper Tupac Shakur in attendance before being killed in a drive-by shooting later on the Vegas strip. Another infamous moment in boxing history at this venue occurred in 1997 when Tyson became so enraged at opponent Evander Holyfield’s constant headbutting that he bit part of his ear off.
Of course, it is not just the Tyson fights in the 1990s which have made this well-known casino a top boxing venue. Since then, it has hosted many top fights involving stars such as Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez. Fury vs Wilder II was also held at this venue in 2020 and shows the pull it has for fans still.
The greatest Irish boxer of all time rankings show the history which Ireland has in the sport. ,and the grand casinos in Vegas like Caesar’s Palace show how closely this city is tied to it. Although the MGM Grand may have become the biggest grand casino in Vegas for boxing in more recent times, Caesar’s held the title before that. This was the place for big boxing contests in the 1970s and 1980s. This means it is still a name which fans of the sport know — even if the luxury hotel and casino is more famed for gambling now.
Some of the fights that enabled Caesar’s to claim its place in boxing history as an iconic boxing venue include Roberto Duran’s third battle against Esteban de Jesue in 1978 and the Holmes vs Ali bout in 1980.
Hagler against Duran in 1983 was another huge fight which Caesar’s hosted, as was Hagler against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987. Although bouts between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe saw the venue cement its place in boxing history in the early 1990s, future years saw it overtaken as the setting of choice for big fights by the MGM Grand.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
The Mandalay Bay is well-known in Vegas as being one of the top luxury grand casinos and resorts to stay at. In recent times, it has also made its name as a boxing venue and one that already has close ties to the sport. If this continues and it hosts some truly epic fights involving the biggest names, Mandalay Bay’s place in boxing history seems assured.
Much of this comes down this venue emerging as the go-to choice for respected promoter Bob Arum and his Top Rank organisation. In 2021, Arum arranged the explosive Terence Crawford against Shawn Porter bout to take place here. If you head back a little further in time, you will find fighters such as Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins have fought here as well.
Vegas’ grand casinos make top boxing venues
There seems to be little doubt that the grand casinos in Las Vegas have a long history in terms of boxing and hosting the best fights in the sport. There are many reasons these huge casino resorts make excellent boxing venues and why they will continue to be key to the sport’s mass appeal in places like Ireland moving ahead.