With the global economy mired in a recession, a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton apparently is all the stimulus that thousands of boxing fans from the United Kingdom and the Philippines needed to shell out up to $5,000 apiece to make the trip for Saturday night's showdown at the MGM Grand Garden.
About 300 fans greeted Pacquiao as he stepped off a custom bus upon his arrival at Mandalay Bay.
An equal number of Hatton supporters flocked to the MGM Grand to witness his "official" arrival, even though the Brit has been in Las Vegas training for the past five weeks.
"It's remarkable, really," Hatton said. "To have this kind of turnout early in the week with everything that's going on in the world with the economy, it's incredible."
Steve Hobben, an engineer from Birkenhead, England, and his wife, Claire, didn't worry about spending $5,000 apiece to see Hatton.
"It's a holiday for us," Hobben said. "You don't just come to Vegas for the fight. You come for the other things -- the entertainment, the restaurants and the shopping."
The Hobbens got married in Las Vegas last year after attending the Joe Calzaghe-Bernard Hopkins fight at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"It probably wouldn't have happened had we not been here," Hobben said of the wedding. "We did it because we were able to be away from our families."
John Saunders also spent about $5,000 to make the trip from Hatton's hometown of Manchester, England, where Saunders works as a scaffolder.
Normally, he couldn't afford such a trip, but Saunders said he used an insurance settlement from a car accident nine months ago to fund his visit to Las Vegas.
"I got here Sunday, and it's better than I thought," he said. "This is my first time in Vegas, and the excitement around town is tremendous."
Things should pick up over the next 72 hours with the arrival of most of the 15,000 Hatton fans who are expected to make the trip from the United Kingdom.
Even Hatton is amazed that many can afford to attend the fight.
"Things are very hard back home, economically speaking," he said. "But the British fans are always going to be supportive, whether it's football or for one of their fighters. They're going to find a way to be there in person."
Pacquiao won't have 15,000 Filipinos in town to pull for him, but those who are in Las Vegas figure to make themselves heard.
Rose Ibay took time off from her job as a registered nurse in Manila to support Pacquiao.
"This is a big fight for him, and it's a big experience for me," said Ibay, who said her trip is costing her about $3,000. "It's important for the Filipino people to see Pacquiao fight in person. It's a matter of pride. By being here we are representing our country."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913.