Western civilization is not even halfway through 2007 yet, but the Super Fight of the Century already looms large on the Las Vegas horizon.
Pretty Boy versus The Golden Boy in (arguably) the Boxing Capital of the World - and a pair of US Olympic medalists to boot.
Undefeated challenger Floyd Mayweather (37-0, 24 KOs) will face Oscar de La Hoya (38-4, 30 KOs) in a long awaited, much anticipated WBC title match on Saturday.
They're jawing like Ali and Frazier, Sugar Ray and Hearnes and Tyson and anyone, and it has been well documented by media across the world.
The bout will be the day's second major sporting event, following on the hoofs of the Kentucky Derby, which itself annually lures huge throngs to Southern Nevada.
De La Hoya, 34, won a gold medal at Barcelona in 1992, while Mayweather, 30, took a bronze in Atlanta four years later.
Mayweather has bought the meeting for years.
Professional Handicappers League member Jorge Gonzalez considers boxing one of his specialties and he's giving readers of this site his very strong opinion about the outcome.
"I think Mayweather is going to dominate him," Gonzalez said, citing the youngger fighter's age advantage as a major factor in selecting him to win.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena sold out quickly once ducats went on sale and, with pay-per-view tickets costing in the $ 60 neighborhood, the bout is expected to produce Sin City's biggest boxing payday ever, while possibly spawning a rematch or two.
Both boxers expect rich paychecks, with de La Hoya receiving as much as $ 25 million and Mayweather $ 10 million.
De La Hoya has won championships in six weight classes, Mayweather in four.
Mayweather was roughly a 2/1 choice in weeks leading up to the fight.
Monday night Sin City's Mirage had Mayweather a minus $ 1.80 favorite, de La Hoya plus $ 1.60., The same as offshore Olympic.
The line at CRIS was plus $ 1.55, minus $ 1.85.
The Mirage's 12-round proposal was "Will go" minus $ 1.70 and "Will not go" plus $ 2.30.
De La Hoya was plus $ 5.00 to win by a knockout and plus $ 2.20 to triumph by a decision; Mayweather's prices were plus $ 5.50 and minus $ 1.30.
A draw was plus $ 14.00.
Gonzalez says choosing Mayweather - described by the handicapper as pound-for-pound the planet's top boxer today - was fairly easy.
"Do you want a fighter who is in his prime or one who prime is over?" He asked.
"Oscar's glory days are in the past.
"Floyd Mayweather is in his prime."
De La Hoya lost a pair of decisions to Shane Mosley, a major decision to Felix Trinidad and was knocked out by Bernard Hopkins in September of 2004.
The adopted Las Vegas son scored a comeback of sorts with a sixth round TKO of Ricardo Mayorga last year and went on to finally accept Mayweather's showdown challenge.
While de La Hoya is expected to have a large Cinquo de Mayo crowd behind him, Gonzales reminds that Mayweather's from Sin City and will have plenty of backers.
Gonzalez also is swayed by the Mayweather family's deep ties to the sport and the fact that Uncle Roger, a champion himself, helped train his nephew for the match and that father Floyd Sr.. Is in his corner.
"The whole family's behind him," Gonzalez said.
His introduction to the handicapping world's inner workings came when Gonzalez began patronizing the now-imploded Stardust and started rubbing elbows with the group of betting insiders who later became his peers.
Relying on a series of steps, Gonzalez graduated carved out a niche in sports gambling's jungle: setting up a web site, joining ProCappers, starting a radio show, landing Stardust and other broadcast and touting gigs, all while providing his handicapping abilities by winning online Contests.
Gonzalez is most proud of the PHL NBA title he won a few years ago.
Current broadcasting missions include regular appearances on "Just for Openers," a show sponsored by Las Vegas Sports Consultants that airs on FOX Radio, and another hosted by the Leroy's sportsbook chain that's heard through the Western United States and Canada on KDWN (720-AM ).
Gonzalez, 37, gives a useful of associates assists for helping him get established, with PHL founder Brian Gabrielle prominent among them.
"Brian showed me the way," he said.
While Gonzalez freely shares his thoughts on the big boxing match, do not look to him to complete a Cinquo de Mayo daily double with a winning Run for the Roses pick.
"I've never made a horse bet in my life," he said.