- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Danny Garcia and Amir Khan waged a tremendous junior welterweight unification bout on July 14 in Las Vegas. It was action-packed and dramatic as Garcia, who was cut and in some early trouble, dropped Khan in the third round and twice more in the fourth round for the upset knockout win to claim a second belt at 140 pounds.
Too bad the fight was in the wrong location. Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay is a wonderful venue for boxing -- one of the best I've ever covered a fight in -- but Garcia-Khan simply didn't belong there, and the gate numbers prove that point.
According to figures released on Tuesday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, 3,147 tickets were sold for the fight, for a gate of $426,150.
The surprising part of the gate report is that Golden Boy Promotions and the casino also gave away 3,364 tickets, meaning there were more freebies than tickets sold. If I were one of the people who paid top dollar for a ticket, that would more than irritate me. There were also 737 unsold tickets.
Khan (whose official purse was $950,000) is from England, and Garcia (who made a career-high $520,000) is from Philadelphia. So is it a surprise that the gate for a fight card held in the desert in the dead of summer, with no remote local connection, did so poorly? This fight would have been much better served had it been staged in Atlantic City, N.J. -- barely an hour by car from Philly -- or even in England, where Khan has drawn much larger crowds.
Getting HBO's TV money is great -- the network probably paid a shade less than $2 million for the fight -- but fights need to take place where there's an audience. In other words, fish where the fish are.