RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Tomorrow is a huge sports day, basketball and hockey playoffs, the Kentucky Derby. But tomorrow, boxing gets top billing. After years of speculation, fans around the world will finally get to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. We sent NPR's Tom Goldman to check out the scene.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: As you might imagine, Las Vegas is thick with boxing fans. But official watch parties are sold out, and many people are priced out by the huge cost of tickets to the actual event. So you connect where you can. Yesterday, that was at a downtown merchandise store where Davette Zachary, who works for Showtime, instructed an intrepid amateur about to step into a boxing ring.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DAVETTE ZACHARY: OK, now you're ready to go. You'll see on screen where to punch and when to punch. So it'll be left, right, high, low or center.
GOLDMAN: In this mock ring, part of an interactive game, Twinkle Icban showed some good stuff. She had the choice of fighting Mayweather or Pacquiao superimposed on a big screen. Icban, like Pacquiao, is Filipino, so not surprisingly she chose Mayweather. She finished the game flashing a big grin.
TWINKLE ICBAN: It was fun.
GOLDMAN: You killed it.
ICBAN: I know. I beat Mayweather (laughter).
GOLDMAN: You beat Mayweather...
Yeah, but Mayweather had the goods - literally - on PacMan at this store. Mayweather is unrivaled as a self-promoter, and the shelves were dominated by his stuff with his logos - TMT, The Money Team, TBE, The Best Ever. Not to be completely outdone, there was a $450 Pacquiao baseball cap with a python-skin bill. Yeah, I did a double-take, too, with store manager Eddie Beshears.
I'm sorry, what is that skin?
EDDIE BESHEARS: It's python.
GOLDMAN: What's the significance of python?
BESHEARS: It's just something we decided to do a little - a higher-quality hat, you know, for that person that wants to spend, you know, some money.
GOLDMAN: You want to spend money? Tickets for today's weigh-in, originally $10, were being resold midweek for as much as $550 to watch Manny and Floyd get weighed in their underwear. Tom Goldman, NPR News, Las Vegas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.