(My Sunday newspaper column didn’t seem to make the Fairfax interweb cut this week, so I’m making it available on-line here, for anyone who usually catches it that way.)
“Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao – they’re meeting at MGM Studios, Las Vegas, tomorrow.”
– Sandy Roberts, Fox Footy
“A nice sequence there for both fighters, AND Manny Pacquiao”
– Andre Ward, post 3rd round commentary, Mayweather v Pacquiao, Main Event
The world super-middleweight champion, Andre Ward, there, apparently mistaking referee Kenny Bayless for a third combatant.
And Sandy Roberts – who has enough to be going on with, such as constantly fiddling with his cufflinks and trying to keep nine football games and 87 commentators straight every week in his Fox Footy channel gig – found himself plugging boxing, and came adrift on the matter of venue.
Sandy saw the fighters meeting “at MGM Studios”, a sparkling throwback to a now-distant world of entertainment charm and delight.
It was if Floyd and Manny were going to rocket backwards in time, share a peach cobbler at the MGM studio commissary, and then shoot some kind of all-singing, all-dancing musical spectacular, possibly co-starring ice-skater Sonja Henie and swimmer Esther Williams as the love interests.
In fact the venue was the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas – a priority-choice venue for many major boxing and UFC events over the last 22 years – inc the two Tyson-Holyfield fights, and De La Hoya’s bouts with both Pacquiao and Mayweather.
They don’t shoot movies there, but it holds a crowd.
Fortunately Sandy had a more resonant pre-fight moment earlier last weekend. Indeed, some might even term it prescient.
No doubt under a good deal of headphone instruction, Sandy was promoting the notion that viewers should get in early to buy the pay-per-view of that Floyd and Manny MGM ice-dancing musical extravaganza, lest they otherwise miss out.
At a crucial juncture the genial host misspoke ever so slightly, resulting in the memorable slogan:
“Don’t avoid the disappointment.”
In Sandy’s defence, apparently thousands later agreed with this accidental prediction.
However this wasn’t necessarily gaffe of the week.
That arguably belonged to “multi-talented superstar” – or whatever ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr called him – Jamie Foxx, to whom it fell to provide the pre-fight rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Foxx sung the first half in musical scales previously unheard in this neck of the galaxy, then gradually, against considerable odds, wrestled the shebang back on track.
Unfortunately he then concluded with more ice-cave wind melodies, and the slightly renovated lyric:
“For the land of the green/And the home of the brave”.
Maybe it was ironic comment on the night’s pay-per-view gross.
Speaking of which, an engaging postscript occurred late in the week. During Fox Sports News, a reporter announced in grim, somber tones:
“Manny Pacquiao faces a five million dollar lawsuit.”
That wasn’t at all hilarious, right up until you thought about it. The two fighters split gazumpty-umpity HUNDREDS of millions of dollars between them.
The only problem Manny might have there, would be scrabbling around his pay envelope trying to find small enough change to pay the tab.