The Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson light-heavyweight fight on April 28 at Boardwalk Hall is shaping up to be one of the biggest fights to hit Atlantic City in four years.
The arena was originally configured to seat 7,000 fans, but tickets have been selling at such a brisk pace that another 1,300 seats are being added today.
An 8,300-seat sellout would make the fight the largest since 11,332 watched Hopkins hand Kelly Pavlik his first career loss on Oct. 18, 2008. The last Atlantic City fight to draw more than 6,000 fans occurred on April 17, 2010, when 6,179 saw Pavlik lose to Sergio Martinez.
"I think there's a one-two punch behind (the strong ticket sales for Hopkins-Dawson II)," Caesars Entertainment consultant Ken Condon said Wednesday in a phone interview. "I think the controversial ending to their first fight provides some mystique to the rematch. Also, Bernard Hopkins is a boxing legend, but he's 47 years old and no one knows how much longer he's going to fight, so people want to see him before he retires."
Another reason could be the prices of the tickets, which range from $25 to $300 for ringside. This is the first fight at Boardwalk Hall's main arena in recent memory that has featured $25 seats.
Promoters Gary Shaw and Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, set the ticket prices for the card, which also features a heavyweight showdown between Seth Mitchell and Paulsboro resident Chaz Witherspoon for the vacant NABO title.
"From what I understand, this is one of the best-selling events (in Atlantic City) in a long time," Schaefer said Tuesday in a conference call. "It proves that if you price fights right, people will come. Spending $25 to see a doubleheader like this is unheard of."