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Hard Times

The contrast between now and then is startling. Twelve months ago, the MGM Grand was full of singing, chanting Brits, in Las Vegas to support their man Ricky Hatton as he challenged the pound-for-pound best in the world, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Estimates vary as to how many made the journey. 20,000 certainly. More than that, assert some. One year later, it's all very different.

Some have made the trek, or will do. Five or six thousand, perhaps, as many as were in Vegas to watch Hatton defeat Juan Urango. But things are different. The British pound, then strong against the dollar, is now weak and falling fast. The global economic situation is murky and uncertain at best. A British fighter - Joe Calzaghe - fought in the US just two weeks ago, requiring fans to prioritize. And while Calzaghe fought a future Hall of Famer in Roy Jones Jr., Hatton is facing Paulie Malignaggi, who is a good fighter but who is no Floyd Mayweather.

Throughout Las Vegas, the downward economy is making its presence felt. Hotels are slashing their rates. Even big fight cards are not selling out. And a certain visiting journalist is anxiously awaiting delivery of money that is owed to him, so he can pay the bills that are already overdue.
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