The most eagerly awaited sporting event of 2015 will take place next Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The boxing event that most fans did not believe would ever happen will happen and be the largest financial windfall in boxing history. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will meet in the ring for the prestigious and valuable $1,000, 000 Emerald Belt and the WBC Welterweight crown.
The two champion boxers are preparing for their May 2nd encounter rather than out trying to drum up business. Because of the importance, history and value of the belt itself, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman was at the Friar’s Club in midtown Manhattan on Monday afternoon, showing the belt and promoting the bout.
The WBC head expressed his pride at the location for the press conference, “This is a traditional place where great events are held. We thought New York was a place to bring the Emerald belt.” He mentioned some of the legends who have worn this belt’ Muhammad Ali, Julio Cesar Chavez, Mayweather and Pacquiao.
The belt was brought into the room by two renowned female boxers who followed the NYFD Emerald Society Pipe and Drums.
The background of the belt and the process by which it is made was explained in two videos that were shown. In one film, Mike Tyson said of the green belt, “It is the king of belts.”
Also present was a representative of Goldsmith & Co. in the United Kingdom that is producing jewelry such as rings, cuff links and pendants and key rings that will be sold in connection with the bout. The proceeds will be given to the Nevada Community Foundation, which exists to assist boxers in need.
There was a raffle, at no charge, in which a usb constructed of six ounces of silver was given to two winners, Iran Barkley, a former boxing champion born in the Bronx and Ed Post, a boxing trainer.
Barkley is one of several boxing world champions who were born in the Bronx. The distinguished list includes Jake LaMotta and Carlos Ortiz. Barkley “the Blade” was a former champion at several weights. He defeated Thomas Hearns for the WBC Middleweight title in 1988, but lost it to Roberto Duran in the following year. Barkley defeated Hearns for another crown, the WBA Light-Heavyweight tile several years later. Unfortunately, Barkley has undergone difficult financial times in the recent past, and was, at one time, homeless. He currently lives in the South Bronx.
As a kindness to those who came to see the belt, Sulaiman graciously invited anyone present to pose for photos with the extremely valuable belt.
Sulaiman also spoke in tribute to his late father, Jose, his predecessor as WBC President, “This fight represents a dream of my father. I’m sure he’s very proud they’re going into the ring on Saturday.”
The fight, long sold out, will also be available on Pay Per View on HBO and Showtime.