A boxing era came to an end Friday as Top Rank closed the doors to its gym, home to world champions and undercard fighters.
The gym, which opened in 1989 and was graced by Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Lennox Lewis and Miguel Cotto, among others, fell victim to a sluggish economy. Fewer than a dozen fighters regularly were training at the facility on Business Lane, and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum decided to turn off the lights.
“It was strictly a business decision,” Arum said Friday. “We’ve been discussing it for the last six months. With so few fighters using the gym and no Top Rank fighters, it was silly to stay open around the clock.
“It’s very expensive to operate.”
Between the utilities, maintenance and staffing, it was costing about $250,000 a year to operate the gym, Arum said.
Mitch Hampp, who has overseen the day-to-day operations of the gym since its inception, understood the decision.
“The man says I got to go, so I go,” Hampp said of Arum, who will make the gym available for Top Rank fighters who come to Las Vegas and need a place to finish preparations for big fights. “They’re opening up a lot of gyms, so the fighters have a place to go. It’ll be all right.”
Hampp said he leaves with no regrets.
“It’s been a good ride,” he said. “I’ve been here through the good days, saw a lot of great fighters. I enjoyed Iran Barkley and James Toney. They were my favorites.”
Hampp, 69, who has dealt with health issues the past three years, said he might take time to travel, perhaps go back to his native Hawaii and visit family and friends.
“I’m going to rest awhile and relax,” he said.
• PACQUIAO-COTTO TICKETS — Tickets for the Nov. 14 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at the MGM Grand Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, as well as online at Ticketmaster.com.
Tickets are priced at $150, $300, $500, $750 and $1,000, with applicable service charges. There is a 10-ticket limit per person for the $300 to $1,000 price range and a two-ticket per person limit for the $150 seats.
• CROWN CARD — Oliver McCall will defend his recently won IBA continental heavyweight title Friday against Franklin Lawrence in the main event of a Crown Boxing card at The Orleans.
McCall (52-9, 37 knockouts) knocked out John Hopoate on May 22 to win the IBA belt. McCall’s son Elijah also will fight on the seven-bout card.
Super middleweight Demark Scott of Las Vegas will fight Isiah McFadden in the semi-main event.
Tickets, priced at $25 and $50, are on sale at the hotel’s box office.
• WORLDS COLLIDE SEMIS — The $175,000 Worlds Collide boxing-mixed martial arts tournament at Primm Valley Resorts has reached the semifinal stage, with 12 bouts over two sessions scheduled for Saturday. Winners will advance to the finals in October at the Star of the Desert Arena.
In the boxing portion, Renell Griffin will meet Richard Ellis and Johnny Frazier will face Arquimendez Garcia at 132 pounds.
At 142 pounds, Deth Marcus Hall will fight Jose Sanchez and Ignacio Garcia will meet Yakub Shdaev.
At 162 pounds, Victor Medina will face Paul Mendez and David Tabatadze will fight Angel Osuna.
The sessions are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and 7. Tickets, priced at $20, $50 and $100, are good for both sessions.
• SILVER NUGGET AMATEURS — The next amateur fight card at the Silver Nugget in North Las Vegas is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913.