Saturday, May 5, 2012 | 6:45 p.m.
Just landed at ringside for the "Ring Kings" fight card, the main event for which is Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto. In Las Vegas, I've long felt the Ring King is Mordechai (hashtag-SheckyKats).
At the moment, Jessie Vargas is fighting Steve Forbes, both of Las Vegas, in a 10-round welterweight bout. Vargas is billed as "The Next Generation." This is apparently a reference to his status as a rising star in the boxing game and not because he is a "Star Trek" fan.
A quick pass at the merch center -- or souvenir stand -- turns up what seems to be a bargain on U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico flags, just $20 a shot. One version of the event T-shirts are gone, at $30 apiece; a second design is about sold out, with only smalls and mediums remaining. The point being, folks are eagerly snapping up fight mementos. One item is a $95 "Ring Kings" baseball jersey with "May 5" stitched on the back. If you have $95 to spend on this item, God is telling you that you have too much money.
Updated at 7:10 p.m.: Earlier I was asked my opinion of tonight's outcome. Maybe a late-night bite at Peppermill ...
Oh, the fight. I am feeling blood, from the face of Cotto, will lead to a late TKO. Maybe Round 9 to 10, in there. As proof, I have worn a red shirt.
More important, a couple of preliminary celeb sightings -- or impending sightings -- are Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. Bieber has been tweeting about being at MGM Grand, and Carey-Cannon have been spotted at previous Mayweather bouts. I am looking for them.
I feel bad for the ring girl carrying Round 8 at the moment during the Vargas-Forbes fight. Just as she climbed into the ring, the video screens cut to a shot of Mayweather, who was booed by a lot of Cotto fans. She looked a little distressed. It is not you, ring girl. Not in the least.
Updated at 7:20 p.m.: Bill Paxton, brother Chet from "Weird Science" and our favorite polygamist from "Big Love," is here.
Vargas "The New Generation" has won on a decision. "TNG" is now 19 up, none down.
Updated at 7:42 p.m.: Remember the Guy in Blue from the Backstreet Boys/New Kids on the Block show a few months ago? (NKOTBSB last July!) I do! He was dancing up a blue streak in the row in front of me during that resounding boy band reunion show. The Guy in Blue, I learned later, was Rick McGough, VP of contact center operations for MGM Resorts. He is here tonight, once more. McGough is seated with MGM Grand President Scott Sibella, not surprising since the two have been friends forever and grew up on the same street in Vegas. They are having a blast, high-fiving and whatnot.
Meantime, "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez just finished off an energetic first round of tonight's WBC super welterweight title bout.
Updated at 7:46 p.m.: More from the famous at Grand Garden Arena: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer of "True Blood" (which might well be the Cotto story later), Pierce Brosnon (I best remember him as "Remington Steele," not as Bond) and Mike Tyson. The last time Tyson was here, he was onstage at Hollywood Theatre in his one-man show. I'm going to try to pinpoint his locale.
Updated at 7:57 p.m.: I always get a perverse thrill out of Mayweather's introductions. Such spectacles. Cirque could build a show around them.
Round 5 of Mosley-Alvarez just finished, and the latter is cut over the left eye.
Updated at 8:10 p.m.: Mosley was born Sept. 7, 1971. The No. 1 song that day was "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul McCartney, another aging warrior who puts on quite a show at MGM Grand.
Updated at 8:15 p.m.: Joining Iron Mike Tyson tonight is his wife, Kiki. Big fan of Kiki, am I.
Mosley buckled midway through Round 9, but the ring girl tells us Round 10 is approaching. Really entertaining fight.
Updated at 8:20 p.m.: Earlier, an avid boxing follower said to me, "I like Mayweather. He doesn't fight anyone he can't beat." Hard to argue that logic.
Updated at 8:23 p.m.: Heading into the 12 and final round of Alvarez-Mosley. Alvarez is cut. Mosley has been staggered. Anyone's fight. Well, anyone who is competing in the fight, that is.
Updated at 8:31 p.m.: Alvarez wins it, unanimously. He's still undefeated. Mosley, a six-time champion, has lost three of his last four fights. Watching him all puffy-faced, being interviewed in the ring by Larry Merchant, is somewhat sad. I hope he gets out before he gets hurt.
Updated at 8:46 p.m.: A moment to cherish: the walk to the ring by Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is wearing a hooded, studded, sleeveless jacket. But not as much volume or hullabaloo as we've seen in previous bouts. But Michael Buffer, he's en fuego. Really on it tonight. He always says, "Twelve rounds of boxing," as opposed to, say, 12 rounds of cricket.
Updated at 8:52 p.m.: Wow, Mayweather. I haven't seen so many belts since my last trip to Lucky Brand at Las Vegas Premium Outlets.
Updated at 8:58 p.m.: Cotto comes out in black trunks with pink trim and pink socks. Mayweather's trunks are red and look to be made of leather. Don't know what to make of all this. Round 1 over, with Cotto pressing, Mayweather countering with quick jabs and two-punch combos. Crowd is abuzz.
Updated at 9:05 p.m.: Chants of "Cotto! Cotto!" in Round 3. Cotto has been able to pin Mayweather into a corner, briefly, but hasn't gotten Mayweather's attention. Mayweather is really studying Cotto, in place of hitting him.
Updated at 9:15 p.m.: Cotto covers well. Everyone is saying that Mayweather is a great defensive fighter, but in this bout, they both are. Cotto's face is showing some abrasive wear and tear entering Round 5 in an arena that is totally packed.
Updated at 9:18 p.m.: Got it 48-47 Mayweather entering the sixth. Evenly matched fight, with Mayweather getting in some telling counter shots, but Cotto moving forward. He's about to bleed over that left eye, if he's not already.
Updated at 9:19 p.m.: The blonde carrying No. 7 is the most popular ring girl. Give Round 6 to Cotto, 58-58, knotted right now on my card.
Updated at 9:22 p.m.: This is heading for a decision, I feel, a close and hotly argued decision, no matter who wins.
Updated at 9:25 p.m.: Well, Mayweather's in a fight now. Huge roar as his bloodied nose is shown after Round 8. He got popped on the ropes by a couple of strong shots from Cotto. He kept shaking his head, as if saying he wasn't hurt, when he probably would have been better off firing punches.
Updated at 9:28 p.m.: Mayweather nearly hit after the bell ending Round 9. I've got it 86-85 Mayweather, but it easily could be the other way around. Floyd's face is a mask of concern. And blood, from his nose.
Updated at 9:32 p.m.: Slammin' body attack by Cotto. Give Round 10 to him, 95-95 entering the 11th. No dominance by either fighter, but a lot of action.
Updated at 9:34 p.m.: It'll be really interesting to see how this crowd responds to a decision. Interesting, in the sense that no one throws crap at the ring. Round 11 to Cotto, who still pushes Mayweather into the ropes and corners. A lot of pushing late in this fight. Mayweather doesn't seem to have the firepower to hurt Cotto at this point. I've got it 105-104 Cotto going into the 12th.
Updated at 9:40 p.m.: Explosive start as both fighters cranked up combinations in the middle of the ring. Cotto nearly pushed Mayweather out of the ring in the opening seconds. A little talking happening up there, too. What would a Cotto victory mean here? Do we need to see Cotto-Manny Pacquiao again? Mayweather shooting out combinations in the final minute, doing a little arms-down taunting, too. I gave Round 12 to him, making it a draw. Crowd standing at the end of the fight and a huge boo for the first post-fight shot of Mayweather. Decision time.
Updated at 9:45 p.m.: Decision time: Cards are 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110, Mayweather wins and rather decisively. The surprise is the judges' wide victory for him -- I had this one a lot closer.
Updated at 9:50 p.m.: "Miguel Cotto is a tough competitor," says Mayweather to Merchant in an incident-free interview from the ring. "I knew this would be a tough fight." Says Bob Arum is "in the way" of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.