Pacquiao-Mayweather bonanza for Las Vegas

Las Vegas, the neon dream town that rises from the desert like a mirage, is in the grip of Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fever.

"Sin City" is buzzing as A-listers and casino high-rollers pour in for Saturday's long awaited welterweight showdown between the two fighters, while hard-core boxing fans from in and out of town make the most of fight week activities knowing they don't stand a chance of getting into the MGM Grand Garden Arena come Saturday.

"It's crazy," Las Vegas resident Stephen Boggioni said Tuesday as he made his way to a Pacquiao pre-fight pep rally at the Mandalay Bay convention center.

Rapper Doug E. Fresh interviews WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 28, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Rapper Doug E. Fresh interviews WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 28, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada ©Ethan Miller (Getty/AFP)

"It's just kicking off right now and I think it's going to be out of control. I think it's like the biggest event, even though to me, personally, I don't think it's that important of a fight."

After joining hundreds of fans in feting Pacquiao, Boggioni was headed to Mayweather's "grand arrival" at the MGM Grand on Tuesday afternoon.

Boggioni was also planning to attend Friday's weigh-in -- for which 10,000 tickets at $10 a pop were sold.

The $10 charge for an event that by Nevada law should be open to the public for free was merely a way to corral the massive number of people attending.

Boggiani initially balked at the fee, but when he heard the weigh-in ticket receipts would be donated to charity he decided it was no problem.

More than 100,000 fans without tickets to the fight were expected to descend on Las Vegas and its environs this week -- hotels, restaurants, chic clubs and tawdry strip joints were gearing up for capacity crowds and setting their prices accordingly.

"It really reverberates through restaurants, night clubs," Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, told AFP.

"If you talk to some of the hosts, where at some of the top tier night clubs it might be a five- or 10,000-dollar minimum for a table at the night club on Saturday night they're at $50- $60,000.

"From the travel industry to hospitality to night clubs it really is a boom in every sense of the economy, really for this sector of the country."

Hotels, too, are charging top dollar for in-demand rooms.

- Biggest event in Vegas history? -

Bob Arum, founder of Top Rank Promotions who has presided over more than one mega-event in Las Vegas in his time, predicted this week's fight would be "the biggest event in the history of Las Vegas."

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says it's almost impossible to calculate that, although they do know that the "non-gaming economic impact" of Mayweather's last fight in Vegas -- a 12-round victory over Marcos Maidana last September -- was $11.3 million and Pacquiao's last fight here, his April victory over Timothy Bradley -- delivered $10.9 million into business coffers apart from gambling revenue.

And those figures, LVCVA's Jenelle Jacks noted, are generated from only those visitors who had a ticket to the fight.

They don't reflect revenue generated from those who hit town just to soak up fight-week atmosphere or who paid in the region of $150 to watch the fight in the party atmosphere provided by a closed circuit television viewing.

That's how Vegas resident Tom Diana will be watching the fight.

He attended Mayweather's MGM arrival wearing a giant souvenir boxing glove bearing the signature of Mike Tyson.

"It's been crazy," Diana said of the influx of people already this week. "You just see more and more people every day.

"This is as big as it gets right now," he said. "There's always going to be another big fight, but this is a huge fight and for Vegas this is huge right now."

Long-awaited showdown

Long-awaited showdown ©Adrian Leung/Gal Roma (AFP)

WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao arrives at a fan rally at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on April 28, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada

WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao arrives at a fan rally at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on April 28, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada ©Ethan Miller (Getty/AFP)

Boxers Manny Pacquiao (R) from the Philippines and Floyd Mayweather from the US pose during a press conference on March 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, California, ...

Boxers Manny Pacquiao (R) from the Philippines and Floyd Mayweather from the US pose during a press conference on March 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, California, to launch the countdown to their May 2, 2015 super-fight in Las Vegas ©Frederic J. Brown (AFP)

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