Atlantic City casino executive Don Marrandino is tired of seeing boxing's biggest fights just on TV.
Marrandino, Eastern Division president for Caesars Entertainment Corp., viewed Timothy Bradley's controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last Saturday night on closed circuit from Caesars Atlantic City.
He wants to watch the next major bout in person from a ringside seat at Atlantic City's Bader Field.
"Don't get me wrong, we've had some really good fights here in the last few years," Marrandino said Tuesday in a phone interview. "But Vegas always one-ups us when it comes to the megafights. If and when another big fight comes along, I want to see if we can have it here."
Bader Field, which is hosting a pair of outdoor concerts this month, would be the only location in town large enough to host a major fight such as a Bradley-Pacquiao rematch or perhaps even the Floyd Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown that boxing fans have been clamoring for for the last five years.
Boardwalk Hall is no longer big enough to host such a fight. The stately arena once held over 20,000 for boxing - 21,785 fans saw Mike Tyson knock out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds on June 27, 1988 - but the capacity was reduced to around 12,500 when the venue underwent a $90 million renovation in 1998.
Since the arena reopened in 2002, the largest number of fans to watch a fight at Boardwalk Hall was the 12,763 that watched Carlos Baldomir's victory over the late Arturo Gatti on July 22, 2006. Conversely, the announced attendance for Bradley-Pacquaio last Saturday was 14,206.
Bader Field, a 142-acre former municipal airport, hosted an estimated 72,000 fans during the three-day Dave Matthews Band Caravan last summer. Phish is playing there this weekend, followed by Orion Music + More featuring Mettalica on June 23 and 24. Organizers canceled two more concerts scheduled for September.
"Boardwalk Hall is too small to compete for a megafight," Marrandino said. "Bader Field has the potential to draw a lot more fans. I think we could get 25,000 to 30,000 people for a fight."
In other news, Atlantic City bantamweight Qa'id Muhammad (7-0, 6 KOs) will be sidelined for at least a month after suffering a fractured right hand while sparring, according to his father/trainer Abdur Rahim Muhammed.
Atlantic City light-heavyweight Lavarn Harvell (10-0, 5 KOs) and Atlantic City welterweight Anthony Young (4-0, 2 KOs) will be fighting Wednesday night at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.