Fan Expo adds activity to major fight weekend

The highlight of Saturday will be the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana rematch at the MGM Grand Garden. Thousands of visitors will be in Las Vegas to attend the welterweight title fight, watching to see if Maidana can avenge his May 3 loss by majority decision.

But fans will have something to do before the fight. Alonzo Benezra, a Montreal entrepreneur, will stage the inaugural Boxing Fan Expo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Numerous current and former stars are expected to attend, including Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Erislandy Lara, Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter, Brandon Rios and Sergio Martinez.

“Boxing has needed this for a long time,” said Benezra, who has been working on the project for almost two years. “It’s a chance for the fighters to connect with their fans and also an opportunity to promote themselves and the products they’re associated with.”

Benezra said he saw the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Fan Expo and basically used its blueprint. He said no appearance fees have been paid and that fighters and boxing-related companies will rent space on the convention center floor.

“UFC has it. Why can’t boxing?” he said.

Benezra said he hopes for a crowd of 3,000 to 5,000. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. A portion of the ticket sales will go to the Retired Boxers Foundation.

“We’ve had a very positive response from the boxing community, and we’re hoping to make this an annual event,” Benezra said. “We’re providing a platform for everyone in boxing to meet and connect with each other.”

For more information, go to www.box fanexpo.com.

■ SATURDAY’S OFFICIALS — Kenny Bayless of Las Vegas will referee Mayweather-Maidana. The judges will be Dave Moretti of Las Vegas, John McKaie of New York and Guido Cavalleri of Italy.

The fight will be for Mayweather’s World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight titles and his WBC junior middleweight belt.

In the WBC super bantamweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz and Manuel Roman, Robert Byrd of Las Vegas will be the referee, and Burt Clements of Reno, Cathy Leonard of North Carolina and Max DeLuca of California will be the judges.

Tony Weeks of Las Vegas will referee the International Boxing Federation lightweight title fight between champion Miguel Vasquez and Mickey Bey of Las Vegas. The judges will be Robert Hoyle and Adalaide Byrd of Las Vegas and Julie Lederman of New York.

The Showtime Pay Per View portion of the card begins at 5 p.m.

■ DEADLINE EXTENDED — The WBC has extended its deadline to Sept. 15 for former fighters to apply for funds from the Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund Grant Cycle. The fund, administered by the Nevada Community Foundation, helps former fighters in need.

Fighters must apply through an application at www.nevadacf.org. For more information, call 702-892-2326.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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