McIlroy will have to hurry to make big fight

Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)


Rory McIlroy is bringing an extra set of clothes to the Match Play Championship on Saturday in case he wins both his matches, only it has nothing to do with his appearance.

He can’t afford to waste any time if he wants to get to the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.

McIlroy has a pair of floor seats for the fight. If he wins Saturday morning and plays in the afternoon, he’ll be cutting it close. He already has filed a flight plan.

"Just a matter of whether I make it or not," he said.

Here’s the plan: Win the match, change clothes, keep interviews brief, get to the airport.

"Honestly, I haven’t thought that far ahead," he said. "I’ve just been trying to take it one match at a time. This obviously takes priority over that."

And if he’s running late?

"I’ll probably try and sell my tickets and watching it on a big screen somewhere," he said.



Some of the most expensive seats in sports began getting cheaper as the welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao got closer.

Tickets that had been advertised for several times face value began dropping in the days before the fight on online sites. The steady move downward corresponded with a similar drop in room rates on the Las Vegas Strip.

At online broker StubHub, the cheapest available seat Friday was $2,813 for a $1,500 ticket. The cheapest seat actually sold on the site was one in the Upper 205 section for $2,930.

The most expensive seat sold by StubHub through midday Friday was a $40,955 floor seat that retailed for $10,000.

A spokesman for the site said the lowest price had dropped to $2,851, down 47 per cent from a week earlier.



Judging by the candy he ate on stage, Manny Pacquiao wasn’t exactly worried about getting under the 147-pound limit at Friday’s weigh-in.

The Filipino fighter is a spokesperson for Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, and he grinningly chowed down after stepping off the scale at the packed MGM Grand Garden arena.

Pacquiao could afford to snack: He weighed in at 145 pounds, two below the welterweight limit. Pacquiao also had candy the day before the weigh-in, and he ate a full lunch at the Mandalay Bay casino, according to his camp.



When Deontay Wilder walks around the MGM Grand and observes the hoopla surrounding Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight with Manny Pacquiao, he doesn’t want it for himself.

The WBC heavyweight champion wants much more.

"I’m very competitive, and when I see this, I’m like, ‘I want it three times bigger,"’ said the unbeaten Wilder, who captured his title in the same arena in January by battering Bermane Stiverne. "I’m the new face of boxing."

Wilder and three-belt champion Wladimir Klitschko are still edging toward a unification fight in the near future, but Wilder said Friday that he will first defend his belt June 13 in Birmingham, Alabama, his home state, against an opponent to be announced next week.

When Wilder and Klitschko meet, it will be the most prominent heavyweight fight in recent years. The bout will be a key step in the career that Wilder plans to build for himself as the first American-born heavyweight champion in nine years.

Klitschko after his victory last week in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Wilder believes boxing is on a surge with multiple appearances on network television and the worldwide momentum generated by Mayweather-Pacquiao. Wilder is among several top fighters in Vegas this weekend to capitalize on that surge.

"I think it was a great idea to bring it back to (network TV)," Wilder said. "That’s going to bring it back to make this thing big. So when I think about stuff being big, I think out of the box. I’m thinking so far that the naked eye can’t see it from heaven. I’m thinking big. Forget about ‘Back in the day.’ I’m thinking about now, and the future."

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