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Decrepit Boxers Holyfield & Botha Prance in Las Vegas Ring Tonight

The “reveal” update:  Last night the 47-year-old Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs) knocked out 41-year-old Frans Botha with 2:05 left in the eighth round Saturday night. Holyfield (43-10-2) knocked the defending champion down 31 seconds earlier with a right to the old guy’s chin.

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Some professional boxers just refuse to give up- or, perhaps, they can’t afford to.  

American heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield, left in photo, 47, squares off tonight with almost equally aged foe Francois “White Buffalo” Botha, 41, of South Africa at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.  At stake is the WBF heavyweight championship belt- and best, if you want to watch the fight, to pull out the No-Doz.

Holyfield, the former four-time heavyweight champion, apparently, wants to who wants to prove he stills has the skills to be a world champion, even though he last held a belt nearly 10 years ago and has lost two fights in a row. 

Holyfield has a professional boxing record of 47 wins with four losses, two draws and 27 KOs. 

Botha (47-4-3, 28 KOs), has had a relatively distinguished career as a heavyweight boxer with top contenders, but has fought several world heavyweight champions including Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Axel Schulz, Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. 

Even so, Botha is named the current World Boxing Foundation World Heavyweight Champion. (Although he won the International Boxing Federation World Heavyweight title in the ring the fight was declared a no contest and he was never officially recognized as champion.) 

Probably feeling that long-term boxing is not good for the brain cells, Botha had some smarts and turned entrepreneur for a short time, corning the market on some magical champagne glasses. All you had to do was twist the stem and, voila!, the fluted glass supposedly lit up like Grand Central Station at rush hour. 

Promoters are literally begging the fight sales light up.  By Friday afternoon, only 2,000 tickets had been sold, leaving promoter Crown Boxing, which is paying Holyfield $150,000 plus a pay-per-view percentage, to hope for a large walk-up crowd. Even $25 lower-bowl seats are going unsold. 

Holyfield currently has the odds of minus-360, Botha plus-280

If you’re into comedy and want to save gas money, turn on the fight at 8 p.m. (PT) on pay per view (Cable 502, DirecTV, Dish Network) and shell out $29.95.

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Aging Mike “Ear-Biter” Tyson Throwing Gut Back into Ring? Not yet. He’s PIGEON RACING!

Recent sightings of a slimmed-down Mike Tyson added fuel to reports of a rumored rematch between Tyson and Evander Holyfield. 

Tyson, who hasn’t fought in five years and was known for his paunchy gut as of late, is clearly getting back in shape, losing 50 pounds, according to those who have spotted him taking regular long walks near his Anthem home in Henderson, Nevada. 

When Tyson, now 43, lost to Kevin McBride in 2005, it was his third defeat in four bouts over three years. 

His arch nemesis, Evander Holyfield, 47, has been cleared for a tentative April 17 fight in Las Vegas against Frans Botha.

Promoter Don King, likely wanting to keep his trump card, is trying to squash news that a Tyson-Holyfield fight reunion is not true.

But while biding his time for this to occur, we’ve learned that the eccentric one will soon star in an Animal Planet series that will feature — are you sitting down? — pigeon racing.

The show, titled “Taking on Tyson”, will showcase amateur pigeon racer Tyson against “serious competitors.”   

We’ve all known that Tyson has  bats aplenty in his belfry, but many probably are not aware that Tyson has apparently also raised pigeons all his life — squab anyone? — but is just now getting into the glamorous world of racing them.  (Hopefully, he won’t toss them around in their cages.) 

The show is on track to be taped this spring in New York City and will air early next year.

“Tyson’s passion for his pigeons takes my breath away,” says Animal Planet Media President Marjorie Kaplan.

If you’d like to bone up on your knowledge of this parlor sport, Las Vegas Backstage Access suggests visiting the American Racing Pigeon Union Web site, where you will find all you need to know- and probably lots you wish you never read.

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Jimmie Johnson Wins NASCAR Shelby American in Las Vegas

Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving the No. 48 Lowes car, cheered on by an almost sell out crowd, won his second-straight race Sunday, as he took the checker flag in the 2010 Shelby American from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com gave Johnson 9/2 odds to win the Shelby American, meaning a bet of $100 on Johnson paid out $450. 

A late pass of teammate Jeff Gordon led to Johnson’s victory, as he led just 18 laps in the race while Gordon led 219. 

Kevin Harvick finished second as he also slipped past Gordon late while Gordon finished third, Mark Martin took fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth. 

Kyle Busch, the pole sitter, came in 15th place and led one lap. 

Johnson moves up to fifth in the standings while Harvick maintains his spot in first place, 47 points ahead of Clint Bowyer.

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Las Vegas NASCAR Complete Schedule

Everywhere you look this week it’s NASCAR all over Las Vegas. Here’s the definitive NASCAR meet and greet schedule: 

First, click here for the complete schedule for what’s happening at NASCAR only at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Next, here are the sequential driver events occuring BEFORE the Las Vegas NASCAR events:

Thurs., Feb. 25  

Noon – Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Michael Waltrip, crew chief Pat Tryson at Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino. Spectator admission is free; $225 to play. 

2-4 p.m. – Raybestos Rookie drivers Terry Cook and Kevin Conway (and others TBA) from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will participate in a cooking competition at the ESPN Zone in the New York New York Hotel & Casino. 

4-6 p.m. – Tony Stewart at Office Depot, 1435 W. Craig Road 

4 p.m. – Brad Keselowski at Discount Tire, 6565 E. Lake Mead Blvd. 

4 p.m. – Dale Earnhardt Foundation Poker Tournament, Stratosphere Hotel & Casino: Kerry Earnhardt, Kenny Wallace, Kirk Shelmerdine, Casey Mears, Matt Crafton, Regan Smith, Aric Almirola, Eric McClure, Todd Bodine, Mike Bliss, Scott Lagasse Jr, Andy Ponstein, Danny Efland and car owner Tommy Baldwin. Spectator tickets are $20. 

5 p.m. – Sam’s Town Live! inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall – 12th annual AutoTrader.com NASCAR Driver Auction. Drivers scheduled to appear include: Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, David Ragan and Kyle Petty. Event also includes silent auction, appearance by Home Improvement TV star Mickey Jones and music by Skid Rodeo. Admission is $20. 

5:30 p.m. – Kasey Kahne at PT’s Pub, Interstate 215 at Decatur Blvd.   

6 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Pole Position Raceway, 4175 S. Arville 

6:30-8:30 p.m. – Kyle Busch at M&M’s World on Las Vegas Blvd. 

6:30-7:30 p.m. – David Reutimann at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

8-9 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

FRIDAY, FEB. 26  

7-9 p.m. – Bobby Labonte, Terry Cook at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino 

7-7:30 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

7:30-8 p.m. – Michael McDowell at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

8:15-9:15 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s Hotel & Casino 

Show cars only:

Friday, Feb. 26
10 a.m.-5 p.m. – Joey Logano’s No. 20 at Home Depot at Lamb Blvd. at E. Charleston 

SAT., FEB. 27  

5 p.m. – Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Venetian Hotel & Casino. Stewart will be honored as part of The Venetian and The Palazzo’s Legends of the Sport series. An $89 package is available for purchase which includes premium seating in Lagasse’s Stadium for the Q&A session, meet-and-greet with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, and autographed photo by both drivers. 

5:30-6 p.m. – Marcos Ambrose at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

Race Tickets 

Tickets for the Feb. 28 Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Feb. 27 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event and the fabulous Neon Garage fan experience may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

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Where are the Super Bowl Parties in Las Vegas? Everywhere!

Why spend thousands of hard earned dollars to go to Miami when you catch all the action literally everywhere in Las Vegas for a comparative mere pittance? 

Apparently, thousand of people are of the same persuasion. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority anticipate 278,000 people to visit Las Vegas this weekend- that’s a whopping 13.5 percent increase from last year’s visitor totals.  The nongaming impact from all those visitors is expected to be up 2.4 percent to $89.7 million. 

So, why don’t you see advertising on Las Vegas’ Super Bowl activities?  It’s simply because of the National Football League’s half-baked and business-choking stance against sports betting, the league has threatened legal action against Las Vegas casinos that use the Super Bowl name in their promotions of parties and events surrounding Sunday’s game. But that hasn’t deterred casinos from promoting “Big Game” activities at their properties or kept Super Bowl bets from becoming a major draw at local sports books. 

Station Casinos, South Point and The Orleans, for instance, will show the game in a ballroom that is open to the public. NFL rules do not allow companies to charge admission to rooms where the game is being shown. 

Las Vegas casinos also can have free but private viewing parties for invited guests and VIPs away from the sports book. 

Station Casinos, which owns 10 Las Vegas casinos, are holding viewing parties for invited guests and are offering $1 hot dogs and $1 Budweisers. 

The Las Vegas Hilton is also having a huge viewing party. 

The Palms will hold its football viewing party for VIPs in its Fantasy Suites, including the Hardwood Suite where guests can relax and shoot hoops during breaks in the game. 

The Hard Rock Hotel, which just opened 824 new hotel rooms and 40,000 square feet of new casino space, is having a public party in Wasted Space and a party for invited guests at The Joint. 

For Boyd Gaming Corp., whose properties include Sam’s Town, The Orleans and Suncoast, this weekend is one of the biggest on its winter calendar. 

“It’s far more than just the sports book,” Boyd spokesman David Strow said. “On Sunday, you’ll be able to see the game pretty much in every nook and cranny of the casino.” 

MGM Mirage is also expecting a big weekend even without a lot of extra hype. The gaming company said it has sold out or is near selling out at its 10 Strip properties even though it is not holding any special game-day parties or promotions, other than offering free T-shirts at Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s with $25 parlay bets. 

Nothing boosts business at Las Vegas sports books like the Super Bowl.  With a record haul predicted for the contest (previous article on Feb. 4, 2010 by Las Vegas Backstage Access), still wagering has never reached the elusive $100 million mark.  It has steadily increased over the years, from around $50 million in 1989 (when the San Francisco 49ers nipped the Cincinnati Bengals) to $71.5 million in 2002 (when the New England Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams) to a record $94.5 million bet on Super Bowl XL in 2006, when Pittsburgh beat Seattle.   Maybe this will be the year?

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Harlem Globetrotters Dunk Into Las Vegas

In their 84th consecutive season touring the world, the venerated Harlem Globetrotters bring their basketball hi-jinks as part of the 2010 Magical Memories World Tour to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for one-night-only, February 10 at 7:00 p.m.. 

Also known as the Magicians of Basketball® and the Ambassadors of Goodwill®, the Harlem Globetrotters entertain audiences with a dose of slapstick comedy and a unique mix of trick shots, high-flying dunks and basketball handling wizardry. 

The legendary team has played more than 25,000 games in their nearly 85-year history.  They have played in 120 countries, on six continents and for more than 130 million fans—including everyone from Presidents of the United States to the Pope. For the North American leg of their 2010 Magical Memories World Tour, the team will play nearly 270 games in more than 215 cities in 44 states, five Canadian provinces and in Puerto Rico. 

Tickets are on sale now and are priced at $21.00, $29.00, $36.00, $56.00, $76.00 and $114.00, inclusive of tax and fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Orleans Arena Box Office by calling 702-284-7777 or by visiting www.orleansarena.com.

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Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Brings 27,000 Runners; Caroline Rotich Wins

Last year, only about 13,000 runners took part. This year, organizers say an international field of elite athletes helped round out and expand the registered runners, bringing out 27,000 racers on a brisk and wintry day today in Las Vegas.  

Runner Caroline Rotich led all runners, finishing with a kick and crossing the finish line with a time of 2:29:49 to win the Rock ‘n’ Rock Las Vegas Marathon today, Sunday.  She took home $25,000 for her win. 

The festive marathon started at 6:15 a.m. today on Las Vegas Blvd. north of Russell Rd, near Mandalay Bay parking lot.  And, for the first time ever for the marathon, nearly 7 1/2 miles of the Strip was closed to traffic.   

As the name Rock ‘n’ Roll suggests, there were more than 35 live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations set up along each line of the Las Vegas Strip course. There were also be hundreds of running Elvi and 85 couples taking part in the Run through Wedding. 

Event organizers expect the Las Vegas economic boost to be around $30 million. There is a strong international presence of athletes who have come from 39 countries and all 50 states.

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