The guessing game has begun: Who will inaugurate the $375 million, 20,000-seat MGM/AEG arena when it opens in spring 2016?
Unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be the natural choice, but he announced earlier this year that he plans to retire once his six-fight pay-per-view deal with Showtime expires in September 2015.
If he wins all six — he has three left — he would tie the hallowed 49-0 mark by Rocky Marciano, the only heavyweight to go undefeated and untied in his career.
Having Mayweather’s 49th fight in the new arena would be a dream scenario for MGM and AEG.
If not Mayweather, then whom?
You can bet the strategists at MGM Resorts International and AEG already are exploring the possibilities. That act likely would have to be booked in the next year.
It will be a mega-event.
The MGM Grand Garden was inaugurated by luring Barbra Streisand out of retirement for two shows, Dec. 31, 1993 and Jan. 1, 1994. Those were her first performances in front of paying customers in 27 years.
The Mandalay Bay Events Center opened in April 1999 with Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
AEG, with its deep entertainment roots, operates the Staples Center in Los Angeles. When it opened Oct. 17, 1999, Bruce Springsteen &The E Street Band inaugurated the arena.
ROSSI’S LAST STANDING O
Steve Rossi got his last standing ovation Friday, with his longtime comedy partner Marty Allen fittingly making the request.
Allen, 92, sent laughter rippling through the audience when he began with his signature “Hello dere.”
Responding to Allen’s urging, the large crowd at St. Joseph Husband of Mary Roman Catholic Church stood and gave Rossi a loud and warm sendoff.
Rossi, a Las Vegas resident since appearing here with Mae West in 1954, died Sunday, weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 82.
One of Rossi’s best friends, impressionist Rich Little, told a story during his eulogy about the time they were going to the Bootlegger Bistro.
Little said he urged Rossi to replace his old jokes with new material.
A nervous Rossi showed up with the new jokes written in red ink on a hand. When he realized his hands where perspiring, he disappeared before he was introduced, Little said.
Later, Little asked Kelly Clinton Holmes, the evening’s host, if she had seen Rossi.
“I think he left because he cut his hand,” she told him.
After the eulogies, as the pallbearers took the casket out, Clint Holmes sang “More,” Rossi’s favorite song.
Joining Little as pallbearers were former golf pro Bob Betley, Golden Nugget headliner Gordie Brown, Mike Flores, Michael Jeffries (Pia Zadora’s husband), longtime entertainer Nelson Sardelli, Mike Tessiero and Michael Tripiedi.
A celebration of life will be announced after details are worked out.
DEVITO OO’D AND AWED ‘EM
Tommy DeVito, founder of The Four Seasons group, still loves to show off the pipes.
He was buying a new suit for his 86th birthday party and the screening of the film version of “Jersey Boys” two weeks ago when the salesman asked him if he still sang.
“Are you asking me if I can still sing?” said DeVito, faking indignation.
DeVito asked everyone in the store to turn around. He then launched into the opening of “Walk Like a Man” that strings together a bunch of high-pitched oo-woo-oo-oo-woo’s.
He did an encore the next night at the screening at the former Playboy Club atop the Palms Fantasy Tower, much to the delight of Aspen Minden, the event planner.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Radio personality Howard Stern spent several minutes Monday talking about his friendship with Rossi, who made numerous appearances on Stern’s show in the 1980s and 1990s.
Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, arriving at The Palazzo’s valet area Friday in his yellow and black Viper known as the “angry bee.” ... “Zumanity” host Nene Leakes of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” dining Thursday at Tao Asian Bistro with friends and family. ... Shaquille O’Neal, DJing at Chateau Nightclub &Rooftop (Paris) on Friday. ... Houston Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus, at Tao Beach on Friday. ... Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman, among the mourners at the eulogies for Rossi. ... At Blue Man Group (Monte Carlo) on Thursday: Greg Howe, current member of Maragold and former guitarist for Michael Jackson, Enrique Iglesias, *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake and others. ... DJs Skrillex and Diplo, at Greens and Proteins.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Lindsay Lohan is going to be making her stage debut in London. Lohan is looking forward to England because she already drives on the wrong side of the road.” — Conan O’Brien
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at email@example.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.